SB Nation Massachusetts High School Hockey Player of the Year
John Leonard, Jr., Forward, Springfield Cathedral
The UMass commit was on a completely different level than his peers this winter. A '98 who was invited to the NTDP Evaluation Camp last March, he's dynamic with the puck and has a heavy shot with a quick and accurate release. He's got an elite shot and he can maneuver into the scoring areas by using his strong skating ability and good lateral movement.
Leonard had 47 goals and 28 assists in 25 games played this winter. Leonard added a lot of bulk and became a much stronger skater over the off-season. He played on a line with Quinnipiac commit D.J. Petruzzelli who is more of a setup guy with the grit to go find the puck.
Leonard's offensive skill set and natural scoring ability are combined with his playing with an edge. He's a fierce competitor who scored a lot of big goals, including one with the goalie pulled for an extra attacker in his team's final game of the season.
The Panthers raced through the regular season and the first round of the Super 8 undefeated before losing, 4-3, in overtime to eventual champion St. John's Prep in the semifinals.
Leonard, who is almost certainly going to end up in the USHL with the Green Bay Gamblers next season, finishes his high school career with 151 points. The Amherst native has verbally committed to the Minutemen where his father was a former assistant basketball coach.
Jeff Cox covers college, junior, high school and prep hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.