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Deep Blue Sea: John Leonard and lofty expectations

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Plus, best-and-worst case scenarios, Ottawa’s creepy headshots and more in today’s news and notes.

John Leonard #43 of the San Jose Sharks shoots the puck ahead of Jason Demers #55 of the Arizona Coyotes during the first period of the NHL game at Gila River Arena on January 14, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Bob Boughner isn’t the only one who thinks that Sharks rookie forward John Leonard might be the real deal.

John Leonard played 13:13 in last night’s overtime win over the Arizona Coyotes, tallying two shots and two assists on the Sharks’ second line.

Chris Peters at ESPN+ did a preseason ranking of 43 potential 2021 NHL rookies and where they might fit in the Calder Cup conversation at the end of the season. He created five tiers, with the first tier consisting of potential Calder Finalists. After the contenders and challengers is Tier 3: Impact Players, or rookies who will come up huge for their particular team, but perhaps not the Calder level contributions, and among those players sits the Sharks’ John Leonard.

John Leonard, RW, San Jose Sharks

He’s not going to come in with as much fanfare as most rookies, but Leonard was one of the best players I saw last season in college hockey, and he deserves the shot the Sharks are giving him. Leonard is both skilled and strong on the puck. He put up 27 goals in 33 games last season at UMass and was on pace to shatter his previous career high in points.

After last night, I’m excited to see what he can do this season. I mean, he’s already at a 112-point pace, right?

Read more about it linked below.

News & Notes

  • NHL rookie tiers: Stacking 43 first-years, from Calder Trophy favorites to depth contributors [ESPN+]
  • Work ethic brought John Leonard from Amherst to the NHL [Greenfield Record]
  • Sharks analysis: Best-case, worst-case scenarios as puck drops to open season [The Mercury News]
  • San Jose Sharks to start season without key defenseman [The Mercury News]

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