The Washington Capitals selected Ryan Leonard with the eighth overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft

The Washington Capitals just missed out on Russian phenomenon Matvey Michkov, who dropped to seventh place with the Philadelphia Flyers.

With their eighth pick, the Capitals were selected Ryan Leonard In the 2023 NHL Draft.

Leonard is the right winger of the USA Hockey League’s National Under-18 Team Development Program.

Boston College quarterback Leonard finished his 2022-23 season with a standout offensive performance at the USA U-18 World Championships. In seven games, Leonard shot the competition with 17 points (8g, 9a) and scored the overtime, gold-medal winner against Sweden.

In 57 matches for the U-18 national team, he amassed 94 points (51g, 43a) which was good for third best on the team. Leonard scored 20 points (11G, 9A) in 17 USHL games. Leonard played on the first line and was used in all positions, averaging over 17 minutes per game.

The striker was not among the top 10 companies selected by some national analysts.

During ESPN’s draft coverage, Emily Kaplan reported that a GM told her that Leonard reminded him of the Tkachuk brothers.

“I think it’s a nice (sic) tribute,” Leonard said on ESPN. “These guys are really special players. To be compared to these guys, it’s a huge tribute (sic-so-sic-so).”

When asked what Capitals fans might learn to love, Leonard replied “My competitiveness. I think that’s kind of like who I am.”

he added In advance video draft He brings “a lot of jams (to the team). Kinda a guy who can change the way the game is played in a few seconds with either a hit or a goal or something. I’m a power forward who brings it all up.”

ESPN analysts have compared Leonard to a Tom Wilson-lite player, who would have been a perfect fit for the Flyers.

This is Capitals’ press release regarding the selection:

The Capitals selected Ryan Leonard in the first round of the 2023 NHL Draft

Nashville – The Washington Capitals selected right winger Ryan Leonard with the eighth overall pick in the first round of the 2023 NHL Draft on Wednesday at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

Leonard, 18, is ranked second among right wingers in North America and fifth among all North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. The Amherst, Massachusetts native spent the 2022-23 season with the under-18 team of USA Hockey’s Team Development Program, recording 94 points (51g, 43a) in 57 games. The 6’0″, 190-pound forward led the team in power-play goals (15) and shorthanded goals (3) and ranked third in points. In addition, Leonard ranked second in game-winning goals (7) and plus/minus (+77).

Leonard split the 2021-22 season with the NTDP U17 and U18 team, recording 20 points (10g, 10a) with the U17 team and 23 points (16g, 7a) in 36 games with the U18 team. In 119 games with Team USA’s NTDP over two seasons, Leonard scored 137 points (77g, 60a).

Leonard represented the United States at the 2022 and 2023 World U18 Championships, winning a silver medal in 2022 and a gold medal in 2023. At the 2023 Championships, Leonard scored the gold-medal-winning goal in overtime against Sweden, giving United the title. Mention their first under-18 gold since 2017. Leonard led all skaters in plus/minus (+16) and finished third in scoring at the tournament with 17 points (8g, 9a) in seven games.

This is the first time in franchise history that the Capitals have taken a player from Team USA’s NTDP in the first round and Leonard is the sixth American selected in the opening round by Washington, joining John Carlson (27th overall, 2008), Joe Finlay (27th overall, 2005), Pat Beck (14th, 1991), Kevin Hatcher (17th, 1984) and Bobby Carpenter (3rd, 1981). The Capitals drafted former NTDP teammate in Leonard Ryan Chesley in the second round (37th overall) in the 2022 NHL Draft. In addition, Leonard is the first right winger selected by the Capitals in the first round since Tom Wilson (16th overall) in 2012.

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