Golden Knights Top 25 Under 25: Jake Leschyshyn needs to bounce back, demonstrate consistency

The 21-year-old drops in the rankings from No. 18 to No. 24.

Knights On Ice’s 2020-21 preseason Golden Knights Top 25 Under 25 series ranks the top 25 players under the age of 25 currently in Vegas’ system. The KOI staff members created their own Top 25 Under 25 ballots. Each individual writer’s ballot was then used to generate a composite score that formed the final rankings.

Next up in our Vegas Golden Knights Top 25 Under 25 list is center Jake Leschyshyn, who comes in at No. 24.

Leschyshyn was originally projected to be a first-round draft pick but slipped to the Knights in the second round (No. 62 overall) of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft because of a torn ACL.

It wasn’t enough to scare off the Knights, though, who took a chance on Leschyshyn, much like they did last year with Peyton Krebs.

But Leschyshyn has been in the organization for several years now, and unlike Krebs, the hype surrounding Leschyshyn’s potential has faded.

No. 24: Jake Leschyshyn

  • Position: C
  • Age: 21
  • Currently playing: Henderson Silver Knights
  • Nationality: American/

That’s mainly due to his 2019-20 performance.

Expectations were high after Leschyshyn bounced back from the injury in a big way in 2018-19, his fourth season in the WHL. After being held to 18 goals and 40 points in 64 games the year before, Leschyshyn exploded for 40 goals and 81 points in 68 games with the Regina Pats and Lethbridge Hurricanes. The mid-season trade barely slowed him down; he scored at more than a point-per-game pace on both teams, and he went on to score six goals and 10 points in seven postseason games with Lethbridge.

But Leschyshyn followed that up with just four goals and eight points in 61 games with the Chicago Wolves in his first full season in the AHL. He went from a pace of 1.2 points per game in 2018-19 to a 0.125 points-per-game pace in 2019-20 in Chicago.

Naturally, there’s a significant difference between the CHL and AHL, and it’s not unheard of for production to not translate, especially right away. But there’s no denying that Leschyshyn’s stock has dropped as a result of last year.

That doesn’t mean the upside is gone, though.

Leschyshyn remains a gritty two-way forward who has playmaking ability and a great release.

But he failed to establish any consistency last season. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound center needs to show a lot more this year with the Henderson Silver Knights.

The pedigree is certainly there, as Jake is the son of former NHL defenseman and Stanley Cup champion Curtis Leschyshyn, who appeared in more than 1,000 games over the course of 16 NHL seasons.

However, Jake’s first professional season was a disappointment, and it’s unclear if he can still compete with the skill level in Vegas’ pipeline.

In order to reestablish himself as a top prospect in the organization and in these rankings, he’ll need to prove he can produce at the AHL level and be a more consistent threat.

Previously in the Golden Knights Top 25 Under 25 2020-21 series:

Honorable mention: Layton Ahac
No. 25: Jonas Rondbjerg