Cody McLeod played 31 games for the New York Rangers this season. It’s not unreasonable to ask why.
Cody McLeod: Grade D
Our series of New York Rangers report cards includes players who are no longer on the team. For many, the fact that Cody McLeod is no longer a Ranger can be considered a blessing.
There was one thing clear about David Quinn as coach of the Rangers. He values grit and toughness and in Cody McLeod he found it. As a result, McLeod actually got into 31 games this season. He played less than seven minutes a game and scored one goal and had only one point. Let’s say he was outscored by Henrik Lundqvist and Alexandar Georgiev.
What McLeod was good at was taking penalties. He led the team in penalty minutes per game (1:56) and his 60 minutes in penalties was third on the team though Tony DeAngelo’s team-leading 77 minutes came in twice the number of games.
He led the team with six fighting majors and he was sixth on the team with 96 hits. He was the very definition of sandpaper. One problem with sandpaper is that referees are on the lookout for it. With his notoriety, McLeod was called for marginal penalties on his reputation alone, often putting the Rangers at the disadvantage. I made this point in a story in early November:
His lack of discipline was another issue as he took the role of enforcer too literally . That resulted in offsetting penalties or taxing the penalty killers. Ironically, it was a fight he didn’t want to get into that resulted in a broken hand.
The fight came in the same game that McLeod scored his one goal of the season and put him out of action for over a month.
After the injury, McLeod came back to play in 22 more games with the same results. In most of those games his ice time dwindled down to barely four minutes a game and he was definitely a liability.
On February 6 Jeff Gorton did McLeod and the Rangers a favor and traded him back to the Nashville Predators for a seventh round draft pick in 2020. Apparently, Peter Laviolette values grit and toughness too. Oh, McLeod played in seven games for Nashville averaging seven minutes per game and didn’t dress for any playoff games.
Why the grade
I will be the first to admit that I am not a Cody McLeod fan. A failing grade was not out of the question for a player who scored one goal in 31 games, was a minus 10, took unnecessary penalties and hindered the development of his linemates.
There’s no question that on a “soft” team, McLeod brought toughness, but it was his overall lack of hockey ability that hurts him. He’s been replaced in the sandpaper category by Brendan Lemieux, a player with a lot more skill.However, McLeod gets some points for his value as a teammate (he was popular in the dressing room) and his willingness to stand up for his peers. He also gets points for the fact that the Rangers were able to acquire a seventh round draft pick for McLeod, a player they picked up on wiavers.
The list of seventh rounders who actually pan out is pretty short. Mike Mottau (7th round 1997) had a decent career and Todd Marchant (7th round 1993) played 17 years and scored 498 points. Adam Huska, Riley Hughes and Ty Ronning are all currently viable prospects picked in the seventh round. Oh yes, in the 2000 draft, the Rangers selected a pretty good player in the seventh round. He was a little known goalkeeper from Sweden named Henrik Lundqvist.
Fighting majors: 6 (most on team)
PP TOI: 11 seconds (least on team)
SH TOI: 2 seconds (least on team)
Hits per game: 3.1 (best on the team)
Corsi For: 38.5% (worst on the team w. 15 games played)
Broken Hands: 1