“Let’s hoist this year.” According to P.K. Subban, this was the first sentence Cody McLeod spoke to him upon his return to the Nashville Predators locker room last season. And while neither Subban (traded to the New Jersey Devils) nor McLeod (suiting up for the Iowa Wild next season) will be wearing gold this season, I will also point out that neither of them hoisted.
Cody McLeod is a natural magnet for ire, spite, and harsh commentary. I, myself, have been known to dip my pen in that hateful ink. And, when signing up for this assignment, I knew that I’d have to work very hard to not point out the obvious* over and over again. That being said, we all know McLeod wasn’t brought in to score goals...or even to stop them, but they brought him in for a reason. It is categorically unfair to judge McLeod by the same standards with which we would judge Roman Josi or Filip Forsberg. Thus, let’s take a look at the purpose established for him upon his arrival.
In this article, Brooks Bratten lays out some very clear expectations:
- Physicality (according to Head Coach Peter Laviolette)
- Energy (according to Captain Roman Josi)
- A Voice in the Locker Room (Laviolette)
- To Do Whatever it Takes to Win (according to McLeod himself)
These are the standards on which I will judge him. I will also forego my natural bias and be as fair as possible.
McLeod was on the ice for a grand total of 35 minutes throughout seven games for the Predators during the regular season. He saw no time on ice during the playoffs. And, while his physical style of play was supposed to intimidate the opposition from trying to get too slick and therefore keep them from taking shots, it didn’t work out so well. During those 35 minutes, with Cody on the ice, the Predators allowed 60% more unblocked shots than the league average. I’d take the opportunity to put in some data visualizations, but just imagine a sea of red and sadness. At the same time, he produced no offense for the Predators.
Energy is hard to quantify. For the most part, I heard that a physical player can bring “energy” to their team by getting into an “energy fight”...which is a fight for no reason other than to “get the boys fired up.” McLeod had one such fight with Predators last season. It came against the Pat Maroon of the St. Louis Blues. The previous meeting between the teams led to one of several injuries to Kyle Turris. At the outset of this match, there was some rough stuff at the opening faceoff and a few minutes later, McLeod jabbed Maroon in the stomach with his stick and the two dropped gloves and went at it:
Well, they fought. The commentators said the benches were fired up, so there’s evidence of energy. However, the Predators lost after they were scored on twice in the first period. One of those goals happened while the Predators were forced to play without McLeod while he served his penalty. The “energy” fight may have contributed, eventually, to a lack of energy on the part of the Predators—or just to more energy on the part of the Blues, since they had a guy in the fight too.
A Voice in the Locker Room
McLeod was supposed to be good “in the room,” so even when he didn’t strap on his boots, his impact was supposed to be felt on the team as a whole. But it wasn’t. The Predators seemed anemic from the time McLeod joined the roster until they went out with a whimper to the Dallas Stars in the playoffs. Cody was supposed be in that locker room giving the team hell about such performances, but that never seemed to show up on the ice.
Doing Whatever it Takes
This almost seems like a moot point. It didn’t take him being on the ice and the supposed “voice” in the locker room had no discernible impact on anything that happened where it mattered. Unfortunately, it all comes down to the point I didn’t want to mention earlier—Cody McLeod is not very good at hockey.
Surprise Category - SMILES
All we heard about once Cody was back was smiles. Smiles in the locker room, smiles during practice, smiles on the ice, smiles for the camera. The team was happier with Cody McLeod around. They enjoyed their time more when Cody kept them smiling. Unfortunately, smiling wasn’t enough and the Predators smiled as they limped their way to a first-round playoff exit.
Final Grade: D
I considered a C because McLeod performed in average McLeod fashion as far as on ice antics, but McLeod wasn’t on the team this time around for his on-ice contributions. He was brought in to fire up the team and motivate them to play physically and inspire them to lay it all on the line and spend the summer celebrating with the Stanley Cup. But none of those things happened. I would have given him an F, but the team genuinely enjoyed their time with him and that has to be worth something.
Did Shaun get Cody McLeod’s grade right?
This poll is closed
Yes, Shaun is spot on.
No, Shaun was wrong, McLeod gets an F.
No, this was typical, C-level, McLeod stuff.
*Cody McLeod is not very good at hockey.