2009-10: Brendan Leipsic skated for the Winnipeg Wild midget AAA team in Manitoba. In 41 games he was the Wild’s second-leading scorer with 23 goals and 40 assists and had 38 penalty minutes. The Wild finished first in the East Division before falling to second-place Eastman in the playoff semifinals. In seven playoff games Leipsic scored 2 goals with 2 assists and had 15 penalty minutes.
2010-11: Selected by Portland in the sixth round (112th overall) in the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft, Leipsic skated in 68 games for the Winterhawks as a WHL rookie. In a secondary role on a powerhouse Portland team that won the U.S. Division and had the WHL’s third-best record, Leipsic scored 16 goals with 17 assists and was plus-13 with 50 penalty minutes. Leipsic skated in all 21 playoff games during Portland’s run to the WHL finals and scored 3 goals with 4 assists while finishing plus-two with 14 penalty minutes. Leipsic skated for Canada Western in the 2011 U17 World Hockey Challenge and scored 3 goals with 2 assists.
2011-12: Leipsic was the fourth-leading goal scorer for Portland in his second season with the Winterhawks. He scored 28 goals with 30 assists and was plus-16 with 82 penalty minutes in 65 games. Portland reached the WHL playoff finals for the second straight year after finishing second to Tri-City in the U.S. Division. In 20 playoff games Leipsic scored 7 goals with 8 assists and was plus-six with 28 penalty minutes. Ranked 114th amongst North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings prior to the 2012 NHL Draft, he was selected by Nashville in the third round (89th overall).
2012-13: Leipsic and Portland teammate Nicolas Petan (Winnipeg) tied for the WHL scoring title with 120 points each on a dominant Winterhawks squad that also featured the league’s third-leading scorer (Ty Rattie (STL)). Leipsic scored 49 goals with 71 assists in 68 games and was +55 with 103 penalty minutes as the Winterhawks rolled to the U.S. Division title; losing 12 games in regulation all season. Leipsic had 10 goals with 14 assists and was +9 with 41 penalty minutes in 21 playoff games. Portland reached the finals for the third straight season; defeating Edmonton in the finals to capture its first WHL championship. Leipsic scored 2 goals with 1 assist and had 12 penalty minutes in five Memorial Cup games as Portland reached the championship game against Halifax. Leipsic skated for Canada in the Canada-Russia Challenge series in August but was not selected for the 2013 World Junior Championship.
2013-14: Leipsic signed an entry-level three-year contract with Nashville in May 2013 and after attending camp with the Predators he returned to Portland for his fourth WHL season. While both he and Petan (WIN) didn’t match their astronomical offensive numbers of the previous season they were again among the leading scorers along with teammate Oliver Bjorkstrand (CBJ). Leipsic scored 39 goals with 52 assists in 60 regular season games and was plus-28 while finishing second on the Winterhawks with 111 penalty minutes. Portland finished first in the U.S. Division and reached the WHL finals against Memorial Cup champion Edmonton. Leipsic and Bjorkstrand had 33 points each in the playoffs to lead Portland in scoring with Leipsic scoring 14 goals and 19 assists and finishing plus-seven with 49 penalty minutes.
Leipsic is a small, energetic winger who hits everything that moves and makes life miserable for his opponents. The speedy forward is offensively skilled, a gifted finisher, and can produce on the power play. He needs to add strength, more consistency throughout the season, and play on the edge without going over the line. The physical winger could project into a top-six forward at the NHL level but at worst, a checker with some offensive upside.
Leipsic will begin his pro career this season and more than likely open the year with Nashville AHL affiliate Milwaukee. He plays the game with a unique combination of offensive ability and pugnaciousness but will likely have to refine that style playing against the bigger and stronger players at the pro level. While his size will be a challenge he could be one day be an exciting scorer.