New Jersey Devils: 5 Players In Jeopardy In Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft

Michael McLeod #20 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Michael McLeod #20 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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New Jersey Devils
New Jersey Devils center Michael McLeod (20): (Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports) /

Michael McLeod

Michael McLeod finally came into his own this season. After the Devils took him with their 1st-round pick in 2015, he was expected to be on the team after one more season with the Mississauga Steelheads. While his draft+1 season was absolutely great, when he went back for his final season in juniors with an injury, it seems like he was never the same. He spent two pretty ho-hum seasons with the Binghamton Devils. That included an absolutely awful stretch where he went 33 NHL games without a goal.

This season, he broke the ice. He has eight goals in 44 games. He’s been much, much better at just about every part of the ice. The Devils desperately need players who are at least decent in the faceoff circle, and McLeod is now the best one on the team. He plays a two-way game that’s good enough at the next level. He also plays on a line that seems to change the pace when the team needs it. The only problem is the team needs it all the time.

McLeod is probably going to get protected because of the investment the Devils have in him. Also, he is a restricted free agent at the end of the season. There are some rules about restricted free agents, but it more deals with the requirements of exposed players, and the Devils should meet that. So, McLeod could be exposed if the Devils want to expose some of their other options.

The fact that the Devils used a 1st-round pick on him, that he plays center, and that he’s finally giving them something for all the time and effort put into him makes it seem like he’s unlikely to be exposed, but it’s definitely possible.