On Tuesday afternoon, the Vegas Golden Knights announced that they were placing forward Jake Leschyshyn on waivers with the purpose of assigning him to the Henderson Silver Knights of the American Hockey League (AHL), but that won’t be happening. Instead, the 23-year-old was claimed off of waivers by the New York Rangers in a move which surprised some.
While Leschyshyn has shown his offensive ability in the AHL, he has struggled to put up numbers when given the opportunity at the NHL level. Through 22 games this season, he failed to register a single point, and has managed just two goals and six points through 63 career games. As mentioned, however, he has proven to be a good scorer at the AHL level, proven by his 14 goals and 27 points in 34 games with the Silver Knights a season ago.
As proven by his stat line so far this season, Leschyshyn’s offense will need to improve if he is to carve himself out a career in the NHL. That said, it doesn’t seem as though the Rangers claimed him in hopes of offense, but more so what he can do defensively. As mentioned by Rangers reporter Vince Mercogliano, Leschyshyn is an affordable option given that he has this season and two additional with a cap hit under $800,000. On top of the affordability, they also believe he can develop into a fourth line center for them and help contribute to their penalty kill.
Whether Leschyshyn is able to turn into the player the Rangers hope remains to be seen, but given how cheap he is, there is no real risk here. Though he has yet to make noise in his brief NHL career, he is still young and likely hasn’t reached his full potential just yet. Perhaps a change in scenery proves beneficial for the 2017 second-round pick.
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