The Edmonton Oilers have re-signed forward Ryan McLeod to a two-year contract worth $2.1 million average annual value (AAV), the team announced Tuesday evening as they avoid arbitration. He will remain a restricted free agent and have his arbitration rights upon the conclusion of this new deal. He was a huge part of the Oilers’ success last season and played a big role in the team’s bottom-six.
With $4.28 million in projected cap space left, the Oilers now have only one player left to sign and that’s defenseman Evan Bouchard, who will have to accept a short-term deal for less money in order to stay with the team.
McLeod was drafted in the second round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft at 40th overall by the Oilers after an impressive showing with the Mississauga Steelheads of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) where over four seasons split between the Steelheads and the Saginaw Spirit, he scored 61 goals and added 133 assists for 194 points through 261 games which comes out to a 0.74 points per game average.
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McLeod never got his first taste of NHL action until the 2020-21 season when he got an assist, but no goals through ten games with the team. He spent the majority of the season with the Bakersfield Condors of the American Hockey League (AHL) where he scored 14 goals and added 14 assists for 28 points through 28 games.
During the 2020-21 season, McLeod spent time on loan with EV Zug in the National League (NL) where he scored four goals and added seven assists for 11 points through 15 games. During his entire AHL career prior to becoming a mainstay in the NHL, he scored 20 goals and added 36 assists for 56 points through 91 games.
The 2021-22 season was the first full season for McLeod, who was able to make a statement by scoring nine goals and adding 12 assists for 21 points through 71 games with the Oilers. He is coming off of a solid 2022-23 season but didn’t play a full 82 games. In the 57 games he did play, he scored 11 goals and added 12 assists for 23 points and has begun to show signs of becoming a huge part of the offensive success the Oilers are projected to have for the foreseeable future.
McLeod’s Fit With The Oilers
McLeod will continue to play a bottom-six role with the Oilers and be relied on to provide relief in the top six in the event of any injuries. He is on the cusp of breaking out and becoming one of the best third-line forwards in the NHL and has now locked himself in with one of the strongest rosters in the league.
McLeod will be a huge part of the Oilers’ bottom six in the 2023-24 season as they look to make a run at a Stanley Cup, and he could put up 40-50 points in that role.
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