Gulls A-Z Player Profile: Chase De LeoAug 9, 2019
In a busy 2018 NHL offseason, the Anaheim Ducks made a trade that swapped one California native for another. The Ducks acquired center Chase De Leo from the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for winger Nic Kerdiles, June 30, 2018. Growing up, De Leo used to watch the Ducks from the stands as he was born and raised in Southern California, surrounding himself with hockey by starting the sport at just four-years-old.
“I think just having a fresh start and coming into an organization I grew up watching as a kid. My entire life I had season tickets so I wanted to make an immediate impact,” said De Leo on what helped him have a breakout season. “Being from California and being able to play in California, I’m definitely not taking that for granted. I moved away from home at a young age, I was 15-years-old, so it’s nice to be close to home and close to family. I think that’s what helped me in the end.”
Prior to moving back to California to join his hometown team, De Leo spent three seasons with the Winnipeg Jets organization. Selected by the Jets in the fourth round (99th overall) of the 2014 NHL Draft, De Leo spent the majority of his time with Winnipeg’s AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose. During those three seasons with Manitoba, De Leo recorded 45-62=107 points in 211 games played.
San Diego opened the season at the Tucson Roadrunners, Oct. 6, 2018. De Leo scored a goal just 6:13 into the game and added an assist later for a multi-point effort in his Gulls debut. That production continued as De Leo became a model of consistency for San Diego, recording 15 multi-point games, including two multi-goal and five multi-assist efforts.
De Leo flourished with the change of scenery, setting career-highs in nearly every major statistical category. Over the course of De Leo’s fourth professional season and first with the Gulls, the La Mirada, California native scored 20-35=55 with a +16 rating and 12 PIM in 66 games. He paced San Diego in assists, shots on net (173) and games played. De Leo also co-led the team in plus/minus rating, ranked second in points and tied for second in goals. In what he considers as one of the best moments of his career, De Leo also made his debut with the Anaheim Ducks at the Edmonton Oilers, Mar. 30 2019.
When the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs began, De Leo helped lead the way with some significant goals, setting a Gulls club record in the process. In a four-game, first round series against the San Jose Barracuda, De Leo found the back of the net in each game, including a shorthanded score and a game-winner. He became the first Gull to score in each of the first four games to begin a postseason and series. In the following round, the Pacific Division Finals against the Bakersfield Condors, De Leo set the tone with a goal just 46 seconds into the eventual series-clinching Game 6.
The newly appointed Ducks head coach Dallas Eakins helped De Leo with his career year from behind the Gulls bench. The now 23-year-old center looks to take the next step and impress the coaching staff enough to earn a job with the Ducks in the 2019-20 season.