If you head out to Rookie Training Camp over the next week, you’ll notice one player skating around wearing a red jersey. No, he’s not a moving target for the players, in fact, just the opposite.
His name is Jake Leschyshyn and he tore his ACL 218 days ago while playing in a WHL game for the Regina Pats. Seven months later, the son of former NHLer Curtis is skating in Rookie Camp with the Golden Knights at City National Arena.
That red jersey indicates he’s not been cleared for contact, but according to Leschyshyn it’s just a safety precaution as he’s nearly 100% recovered from the severest of knee injuries.
I’m trying to get the power back in the first couple steps; that’s the biggest thing. Other than that I’m feeling really confident. I just have to take it one day at a time. –Jake Leschyshyn
Prior to the injury Leschyshyn was well on his way to being a first round draft pick at the 2017 Entry Draft. He ended up slipping to the last pick of the second round, where the Golden Knights used their 5th pick in the draft on the injury-risk 18-year-old.
But now, having seen him on the ice with the rest of the draft picks, skating, cutting, and looking like his old self, George McPhee and the Golden Knights may have selected yet another 1st rounder… in the back end of the 2nd. Add Leschyshyn to the three first round picks, and Nic Hague who many believed was a 1st rounder himself, and Vegas may have left Chicago with 5 bona fide first round talents.
Leschyshyn won’t play in the rookie games in El Segundo, but he is expected to be on the ice throughout rookie camp in his red jersey, and should be ready to go to start the 2017-18 season for the Regina Pats.
As much as we want to focus on Cody Glass, Nick Suzuki, and Nic Hague, the most intriguing prospect at camp might just be Jake Leschyshyn, and lucky for everyone in attendance, he’ll be easy to spot.