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2023 NHL Draft

Washington’s Own Matthew Tkachuk? Ryan Leonard On His Play Style



NASHVILLE — Growing up in Massachusetts, Washington Capitals’ first-round pick Ryan Leonard was no stranger to hockey talent.

He was six when he watched the Boston Bruins, who play their home games about 100 miles east of Leonard’s hometown, win the Stanley Cup. Led by Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and others, they collected two more conference championships before Leonard could drive a car.

But if you ask him who he tries to emulate, you’ll have to go further than just his backyard.

Matthew Tkachuk, Zach Hyman and Alex Tuch,” Leonard told reporters Wednesday. “I kind of like to pick and pull what they have in their arsenal and kind of put it in mine.”

Leonard finished third in scoring for a deeply talented U18 roster with the U.S. Development Team Program. His 94 points — 51 goals, 43 assists — were edged out only by Gabriel Perreault (132) and William Smith (127), the draft’s 23rd- and fourth-overall picks, respectively.

Tkachuk, much like Leonard, is fresh off an enormously-productive season offensively after finishing sixth in the league with 109 points. Hyman’s 83 points — and 36 goals — were fourth on a loaded Edmonton Oilers team, while Tuch’s 79 points were third in Buffalo.

 “I think they all kind of have some things that I have,” Leonard said. “Tkachuk has a little grit to him. Probably, out of those three, he’s got the most out of it. Hyman, I feel like he plays with two high-end guys, so that’s where I kind of brought that. Tuch, I think just his overall power.”

A Boston College commit — along with U.S. linemates Perreault and Smith — Leonard plans to hone his skills at the collegiate level before jumping to the professional ranks.

“Don’t really know the timeline,” Leonard said, “just kind of want to stay patient and make the right choice.

Jared Serre covers the Washington Capitals for Washington Hockey Now. He is a graduate of West Virginia University.