On Monday, the American Hockey League announced that San Jose Sharks prospect John Leonard was named AHL Player Of The Week for the week ending on March 6, 2022, marking the first time a San Jose Barracuda player has earned this recognition in the 2021-22 season. Last week, Leonard scored 7 points (5 goals, 2 assists) in just three games.
It’s very much deserved for Leonard, who, after a slow start to the season, has finally found his game. This scoring surge is surely appreciated by the Barracuda, who have come up with five of a possible six points in those same games and now find themselves four points short of a playoff spot.
Leonard’s hot week started on Wednesday, where he scored a power play goal and added an assist as the Barracuda defeated the Bakersfield Condors at Sharks Ice, 5-3. He scored again on Saturday night in Stockton against the Heat, a game-tying goal that earned the Barracuda a point when they lost 4-3 in overtime.
Sunday night’s game against the Tucson Roadrunners, though, was arguably Leonard’s best so far. He scored the Barracuda’s first goal of the game in the opening period to tie the game. In the second period, he recorded the primary assist on Lane Pederson’s power play goal to give the Barracuda a 2-1 lead. Late in the third, he scored a one-timer off of a pass from Nick Merkley on a 2-on-1, to all but seal the game, but he wasn’t finished.
With just under a minute remaining in the game, Leonard won a battle for a loose puck and went on a breakaway. Roadrunners goaltender Ivan Prosvetov attempted a poke-check, but Leonard wisely avoided it and stuck the puck through the five-hole for his first professional hat trick.
I mean, come on.
The Barracuda may want to hold on to the forward with their own hopes of a possible playoff push, but given that the NHL trade deadline is looming, it may not be long until Leonard is with the Sharks on a semi-permanent basis.