Saginaw Spirit GM Dave Drinkill announced the acquisition of 19-year old forward Ryan McLeod (a second round pick of the Edmonton Oilers, 40th overall, in the 2018 NHL draft) in a trade with the Mississauga Steelheads, a move which will bring the fourth year Ontario Hockey League forward to the Spirit in exchange for defenseman Duncan Penman; along with a 2019 third round pick (from Lon), a 2020 second round pick (Sag), a 2022 third round pick (Sag), a 2024 third round pick (Sag), and a conditional draft pick.
McLeod adds another offensive weapon for Drinkill, who's been working the phones to make deals before the OHL trade deadline on Jan 10, next Thursday.
“It's not something that happens overnight,” Drinkill said of the deal. “When you try to acquire high-end players like Ryan, there's a lot of talks with the teams you're trying to acquire those players from, and you work through different scenarios and obviously different things come into play. But, when it all came together and Ryan decided to come here, we were ecstatic and we were very happy to be adding a player like him.”
In his fourth OHL season, McLeod is coming off a 70-point (26-goals, 38-assists) performance through 68 games during the 2017-18 campaign, while the 6-foot-3, 205-pound forward currently has 38-points (12-goals, 26-assists) through 32-games so far this season.
There's no doubt McLeod is happy with his new team, as the Mississauga, ON native had to waive a 'no-trade clause' in his contract in order to leave the comfort and convenience of his hometown before making the move to Saginaw, where he hopes his skill and offensive explosiveness will mesh perfectly with an already talented Spirit team.
“I'm really excited to get things started here,” McLeod said. “I know they have a really strong team, they have a lot of offense here with a really strong back-end and I know they like to play a two-hundred foot game. So, I hope I can add something with my game and maybe add a little something to the firepower they already have.
“I'm hoping I can be a top-line guy and produce a lot of numbers,” McLeod added. “I think they brought me in to be a goal scorer and to put up big numbers, so I'm hoping I can do that.”
McLeod was part of a 2017 Mississauga team which won the OHL eastern conference championship, before falling (4 games to 1) to the Erie Otters in the 2017 OHL championship finals in a battle for the J. Ross Robertson Cup, and he's hoping to bring some of that valuable playoff experience to the Spirit.
“Yeah, I figured I've won the east already, so why not win the west now, right?” McLeod joked. “But, I'm really excited to be here, it's a really strong team and maybe we can make a push for it.”
Penman, who was a fan favorite and one of Drinkill's first draft picks as a GM, will be a tough loss for the Saginaw GM, the fans and the future of the Spirit organization.
“It is never easy moving a player that you have drafted and brought into the organization, and we do thank Duncan Penman for everything he has done for the Saginaw Spirit,” Drinkill concluded. “The entire Spirit organization wishes Duncan and his family nothing but the best moving forward in Mississauga.”
McLeod will suit up wearing the No. 61 sweater when Saginaw welcomes the Kitchener Rangers to town for a 7:05 pm face off at the Dow Event Center in downtown Saginaw Saturday night.
Video of Ryan McLeod meeting his new teammates inside the Spirit dressing room on Friday afternoon: