Brandon Leipsic is small. There is no debate about that.
The Nashville Predators are equally certain, though, that the 5-foot-9, 167-pound left wing is a viable NHL prospect.
They proved as much Thursday when they signed the third-round choice in last year’s draft to a three-year entry-level contract.
Leipsic, 19, shared the Western Hockey League scoring title this season with 120 points (49 goals, 71 assists) in 68 games for Portland. He and linemates Nic Petan and Ty Rattie were the league’s three highest-scoring players, but his Leipsic’s 49 goals led the league.
He also had a career-high 103 penalty minutes, which made him the only one of the WHL’s top 10 scorers who had more than 100 penalty minutes.
Portland won the WHL playoffs are currently are involved in the Memorial Cup, the tournament to determine the overall Canadian Hockey League champion.
“He wins the scoring title in the Western Hockey League [and is] an absolute exciting, kind of sandpaper skilled guy,” Predators assistant general manager Paul Fenton said recently.
Leipsic, the 89th overall selection, is the third of last year’s nine Predators draft picks now signed. Center Colton Sissons, the second of two second-round selections, and goalie Marek Mazanec, a sixth-rounder, previously agreed to deals.