Welcome back to Vegas Hockey Now’s season in review series where we look at every player on the Vegas Golden Knights and their 2021-22 season from Michael Amadio to Zach Whitecloud.
Today’s player is Jake Leschyshyn
Though it may have not felt like it, Jake Leschyshyn played in half of the Vegas Golden Knights games in 2021-22. As an AHL call-up thrust into the lineup due to injuries, Leschyshyn was far from noticeable, but still showed a glimpse of his potential with the Golden Knights. He put up two goals and six points.
Leschyshyn had an almost identical season to fellow Silver Knight Jonas Rondbjerg. But to be honest I expected a little bit more out of Leschyshyn. A second-round pick in 2017, Leschyshyn was drafted the same year as Nick Suzuki, Cody Glass, Erik Brannstrom, and Nicolas Hague.
He is by no means a top prospect but could have chipped it a bit more offensively in 2021-22 rather than seemingly going through the motions on the fourth line with limited ice time. He also struggled in the faceoff dot, finishing the season with 46% at the dot.
It was a strange season for Leschyshyn. If you add up every transaction he went through in 21-22, the 23-year-old was moved 40 times this past season. He was one of 10 players to make their NHL debut with the VGK in 21-22. But he played more games than Mark Stone, Jack Eichel, and Max Pacioretty.
There was a stretch in November where it looked like the callups would be providing consistent offense. Both Paul Cotter and Jonas Rondbjerg scored their first NHL goals against the Minnesota Wild. Two days later, Leschyshyn followed it up with his first goal and assist against the Canucks.
The only other game I remember Leschyshyn making a significant impact in was March 24th against the Nashville Predators. He failed to score, but was strong on the puck with three shots on goal despite both of his linemates missing as Nolan Patrick and Brett Howden left the game.
At 23 years old Leschyshyn still has plenty of time to develop into an NHL player. While he struggled to emerge as an NHL player in 21-22, having Leschyshyn in the system is not hurting the Golden Knights by any means. With some NHL experience now under his belt, Leschyshyn will look to take the next step in 2022-23.
Depending on the status of Nolan Patrick, Leschyshyn is likely the fifth or sixth-best center in the Golden Knights organization. With a hopeful fully healthy lineup entering next season, Leschyshyn will have to battle for a roster spot that is not guaranteed to him.