Massachusetts top scorer Leonard signs with Sharks, gives up senior year with Minutemen

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 15: John Leonard #9 of the Massachusetts Minutemen. The Massachusetts Minutemen play against the Boston University Terriers during NCAA men's hockey at the Agganis Arena on November 15, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Terriers won 4-3. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/USCHO) (Richard T Gagnon)
John Leonard led UMass in scoring this season with 27 goals and 37 points over 33 games with the Minutemen (photo: Rich Gagnon).

Massachusetts junior forward John Leonard has agreed to join the San Jose Sharks organization, forgoing his final year of collegiate eligibility.

The Amherst, Mass., native was selected by the Sharks in the sixth round (182nd overall) of the 2018 NHL Draft.

“John Leonard grew tremendously as a hockey player this past season, becoming the top goal scorer in the country, and put himself in a position to sign with the San Jose Sharks,” said UMass coach Greg Carvel in a statement. “John has been a critical piece in the development of our hockey program and our culture. His growth as a player mirrored the growth of our team and we are excited to watch him play in the NHL with three other UMass players who came to campus at the same time.

“Cale Makar, Mario Ferraro, Mitchell Chaffee and John Leonard were all part of our first recruiting class and, after three years, they are all signed to NHL contracts. John is an elite goal scorer and we are excited to cheer him on and watch him score goals at the next level.”

Leonard leaves UMass ranking fourth all-time in program history for career goals (56), tied for fifth in career plus/minus (30), tied for eighth in career points (105) and tied for eighth in career power-play goals (16) over 106 career contests.

This season, Leonard led the nation with 27 goals and paced the Minutemen with 37 points. He had 10 assists to his credit and was plus-17 in 33 games with five power-play goals.