After a championship season in the GTHL as a minor midget McLeod had made it clear that his preference was to go to the Steelheads with the 5th pick. McLeod however was selected by the Flint Firebirds who had the 3rd selection in that draft.
After a trade was finally facilitated McLeod would join his brother in Mississauga and help lay the foundation for what Steelhead fans hoped would be a championship run.
McLeod would suit up in 62 games as a rookie and add 20 points. The following season he would add antoher 42 and finally last season in his NHL draft year he added 70 points. McLeod has missed only 6 games his entire OHL career which was during his time at the U17 hockey championships.
His 132 points has McLeod sitting 29th all-time in franchise history. He has also played in 32 playoff games for the team and picked up 20 points during their Eastern Conference title run in 2017.
In a first for defected draft pick compensation with McLeod being a top 4 selection the compensatory pick fell to spot number 5 rather than number 4 which would have been 1 spot after the McLeod selection from the previous year. An extra caveat for this pick was the fact that it was Flint's only 1st round selection due to the fact that the OHL took away their 1st round pick as punishment for their owner meddling with the team after he was put on probation by the league.
With the pick the Firebirds selected Ty Dellandrea. A pick that was derided by some fans at the time who were looking to jump on the Firebirds and say nobody would want to commit to the program so they had to reach for their selection. Well Dellandrea got the final laugh as he was taken 13th overall in this past NHL draft by the Dallas Stars. 27 spots higher than Ryan McLeod.
After chipping in with 24 points in 57 games as a rookie, Dellandrea bumped his production to 59 points in 67 games last year while carrying a young Flint offence. On top of that he has worn the Maple Leaf 4 times already in his young career at the U17, Hlinka and twice at the U18.
The Firebirds picked up 6 draft picks in return for McLeod. 3 2nd round picks and 3 3rd round picks. What is most unique about these picks however is that Flint is using most of them to draft players rather than trade them away.
The 2nd in 2016 originally belonging to Sudbury was used to select Hunter Holmes while the 3rd belonging to Mississauga was used to select Ryan Littlejohn. Through 2 seasons both players have suited up in 107 OHL games. Holmes has had a little more offensive succes to date picking up 20 points this past season in 40 game season that was stalled by injuries. After picking up 3 as a rookie Littlejohn added 11 last year in his sophomore season.
The lone 2017 selecton was once again a Sudbury 2nd. The Firebirds used this to select their goalie of the future in Luke Cavallin. Cavallin finished with a save percentage of .870 which is respectable for a 16 year old goalie on a young team. He also had the starting nod for his team at the U17 hockey challenge.
The 2018 3rd acquired in the trade was used to select Michael Bianconi who has signed with the program and will be making his debut this upcoming season.
The 2018 second was used along with an OS 2nd in 2019 and a conditional 2nd from Oshawa in 2020 to acquire Kole Sherwood. Sherwood would pick up 85 points in 60 games in his lone season in Flint. He was returned to the OHL the following year by the Columbus Blue Jackets. At this point the Firebirds would move him to Kitchener for 2 2nds a 3rd and a 5th adding more draft picks to the Flint Arsenal.
The 2019 3rd was conditionally sent to London in the Nicholas Mattinen trade. The condition was if he played his OA season. Mattinen was subsequently dealt to Hamilton where a conditional 2nd was part of the deal in the event he plays his OA season.
Overall you would have to say the Firebirds are exstatic with the return of this trade. Not only did they get a bounty in return but they have added some key pieces to a young team that is just waiting to burst out. McLeod helped the Steelheads make it to the OHL finals but you have to wonder if they could have gotten more bang for their buck for the assets. One thing to look out for this season is if they will deal McLeod at the deadline as I am sure there are more than a few teams who would be interested in adding his services