Forward Brett Leason was passed over in the draft the past two years. Finally, in 2019, he heard his name get called. The Capitals selected Leason in the second round of the NHL Draft on Saturday with the 56th overall pick making him the second forward the team has taken thus far.
Leason is one of the more unique stories of the draft. He was passed over in the 2017 and 2018 drafts and so is older at 20 than most of the other draft picks. He has decent offensive skills, but an emphasis on improving his skating is what turned him into an NHL prospect. That improvement was reflected in his point totals.
Prior to 2018-19, Leason had 51 points in 135 WHL games. In 2018-19 playing with the Prince Albert Raiders, Leason had 89 points in 55 games. He also scored 25 points in 22 playoff games, helping Prince Albert win the WHL championship. Leason also played his way onto Canada's junior team and scored three goals and two assists in five games in the World Junior Championships.
Being a late-bloomer may have scared off some other teams which could explain why he fell all the way to 56th. Corey Pronman of The Athletic ranked Leason as the 34th best prospect in the draft.
"[Leason's] not a highlight reel player by any means, but he has decent puck skills and can create offense with very good vision," Pronman wrote. "He's aware of his surroundings and can put pucks into seams."
At 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, Leason has great size and can protect the puck well, even if he does not play an overly physical game. At 20, he will be eligible to play in the AHL next season and will enter the organization much closer to being NHL ready than most of the other 17, 18-year-olds taken in the draft.
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