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Prospect Profile: Chase De Leo
By Thomas Harrington
A little more than a week ago, the Anaheim Ducks traded Nicolas Kerdiles to the Winnipeg Jets for forward Chase De Leo. With a new prospect in the system, it’s time for the second prospect profile of the summer.
De Leo was drafted by the Jets in the fourth round (99th overall) of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. After being drafted, he played in one final season in the WHL for the Portland Winterhawks, before turning pro in the 2015-2016 season. De Leo scored 84 points in 67 games of his final junior season. He made his NHL debut and played in two games for the Jets, but spent most of the season in the AHL with the Manitoba Moose. In an odd twist, De Leo actually made his NHL debut against Anaheim on March 20, 2016. His second NHL game came two days later against Vancouver. He went scoreless with a +1 rating in those two games.
Since his first pro season, De Leo has spent the last two seasons in the AHL, not playing in the NHL since those initial two games. Overall, he’s played in 211 AHL games and scored 45 goals and 107 points. His best pro season was actually his rookie year when he scored 19 goals and 40 points in 73 AHL games. In his second season, his point total dropped to 32, but he scored 35 points this past season, and he made his Calder Cup Playoffs debut as well. He played in nine playoff games and scored two goals and eight points.
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De Leo can play both wing and center, making him a versatile forward for the Gulls this coming season. While he’s not a big-time point producer, he’s scored at a pretty steady rate of a point every other game in his AHL career. The biggest drawback for him is his size, as De Leo is only 5’9”, but the NHL is full of smaller players who have found success. If he’s going to succeed, he’s going to need to develop his offensive skill set more than he has over the last couple of seasons. He’s an intense competitor with a strong hockey sense, so if he can improve his offensive skills, he could become a useful NHL forward in the future.
With Kerdiles gone, De Leo will have some big shoes to fill in San Diego, as Kerdiles has been one of the team’s better scorers over the last few seasons. Kerdiles has a slightly higher skill level, but De Leo has been more durable in his AHL career. If he can keep scoring at a half point per game, he should fit right in with his new team and fill the void left by Kerdiles’ departure.
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This coming season, De Leo should be one of San Diego’s veteran players. He’s still only 22 and has a chance at an NHL future, but I don’t expect him to play in Anaheim this season. The Ducks have a number of other young forwards who I think will be in Anaheim first. I’m hoping he continues to score at least a point every other game, but it would be great if he could see an improvement on his career average. If De Leo has a great training camp and a strong start to the season with the Gulls, he could play himself into some NHL time this season or next.
De Leo is currently a restricted free agent, but it shouldn’t take too much to re-sign Anaheim’s new forward. He’ll likely get a two-way deal for one or two seasons. A one-way contract is pretty much out of the question, given his limited amount of NHL experience, but if he can really shine with his new team over the next year or two, he might have a one-way contract in his future.
With this surprise prospect profile done, it’s time to begin the prospect updates. First up is Josh Mahura.
Chase De Leo was signed to a one-year/two-way contract by the Anaheim Ducks. The contract is worth $650,000 NHL/$70,000 AHL.
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July 11th, 2018