New York Post

Leschyshyn follows father’s footsteps to NHL


Jake Leschyshyn was born when his father, Curtis, was in the 11th season of his 16-year NHL career.

Since he was so young, Leschyshyn doesn’t have too many vivid memories of what life was like with an NHL player for a dad. He does recall days off around the rink, however, when his dad would be working out and he would sit in the gym watching movies on a DVD player. Even when his dad retired in 2005, Leschyshyn was still around the NHL scene since Curtis stepped into a color analyst role for the organizati­on he played a majority of his career with, the Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche.

“We’re talking pretty much every day,” Leschyshyn told The Post of his dad after practice on Sunday. “He’s a scout for the Avs now, so he’s busy in his own department with the game. But he makes time to watch all my games, which is really nice. He’s a guy who’s never going to throw a ton of, ‘You need to do this and this.’ He’s just always checking in and he treats me like a pro. He’s awesome in that regard to just bounce ideas off of.”

Curtis Leschyshyn, whom the Nordiques selected third overall in the 1988 draft before he went on to play in 1,033 games, was a defenseman. His son was drafted in the second round (No. 62 overall) by the Golden Knights in 2017 as a center out of the Western Hockey League. The hockey influence was clearly there, but not enough to steer Leschyshyn away from what he liked most about the sport.

“I think just from a young age I was always a forward,” he said. “Maybe not the biggest guy, I don’t know if that played into it at all or anything. Maybe when I was little I always enjoyed scoring goals, so hopefully I can get back to that.” The Rangers hope so, too. Leschyshyn skated in his fourth straight game for the Rangers on Monday night in a 6-2 win over the Panthers since the club plucked the 23-year-old off the waiver wire from Vegas on Jan. 11. The move came in wake of a couple of injuries to the forward group, but the Rangers opted to keep Leschyshyn despite the return of Chris Kreider and Julien Gauthier. The Rangers waived Jonny Brodzinski and subsequent­ly assigned him back to AHL Hartford instead, after the 29year-old filled in for five games.

This was the first time Leschyshyn

changed teams midseason at the NHL level. The last time it happened, he was traded from the Regina Pats to the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the WHL during the 2018-19 season. It was a crazy week, Leschyshyn said, but he feels like he’s finally started to settle in.

Leschyshyn played parts of two seasons with the Golden Knights, accumulati­ng two goals and four assists in 63 games. He was pointless through 22 games this season though, which led to Vegas waiving him. Still, Leschyshyn doesn’t expect his game to change much despite a new backdrop.

“I was just thrilled,” Leschyshyn said of his initial reaction when he found out the Blueshirts had claimed him. “Any team could’ve took me, so coming here was the best-case scenario.”

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