We continue our annual prospect review and forecast series with Alex Kannok-Leipert, defenseman and Captain for the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League (WHL). (You can access all of our Capitals Prospect Reports and player analysis on our “Prospects” page right here.)
Kannok-Leipert is a 19-year-old, right-handed defenseman who most recently played junior hockey for the Vancouver Giants. The 6’-0” Thai native, who grew up in Regina, Saskatchewan, was drafted by the Capitals in the sixth round (#161 overall) of the 2018 NHL entry-level draft. He remains unsigned by the Capitals.
Kannok-Leipert has played three full seasons of junior hockey in the Western Hockey League (WHL), all with the Vancouver Giants. He began his junior hockey career in the 2016-17 season, playing in eight games, scoring one goal and earning two assists.
During the 2017-18 season, AKL played in 60 games, scored five goals and had 16 assists. His 2018-19 season was similar, as he played in 67 games and scored five goals and records 14 assists. His Plus/Minus in 2018-19 was +29 while the previous season where it was -1.During the 2017-18, he played in six playoff games, with no goals or assists.
During the 2018-19 season, he played in 22 playoff games, scoring two goals and having 10 assists. The defensive defenseman reached a career high in points for the 2019-2020 season, even though the season was shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
2019-2020 MONTH-BY-MONTH RECAP AND TREND ANALYSIS
The following month-by-month breakdown is an aggregation of our monthly prospect reports prepared during the 2019-2020 season. You can find all of our weekly and monthly prospect reports on our “Prospects” page in the top menu.
The Vancouver Giants announced on September 27 that Kannok Leipert would be the 17th captain in franchise history. The first-ever, Thai-born player to be selected in the NHL Draft made his way to the top defensive-pairing by the third game of the season. The stay-at-home, sandpaper-type defenseman has had an average month to start the season.
Kannok-Leipert had another quiet month for the Giants. The Captain of Vancouver has found a steady home in the top defensive pair with Bowen Byram, the Colorado Avalanche’ s first round pick (#4 overall) in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. Kannok-Leipert, a stay-at-home, shutdown defenseman will never contribute large numbers offensively. He has a goal and six assists in 26 games played. He’s registered 42 shots for a shooting percentage of 2.4%. Kannok-Leipert, a right-hander, will be in the mix in Hershey next fall.
Kannok-Leipert continues to be a steadying component to the Giants’ blueline. Linemate and fourth overall pick in last year’s draft, Bowen Byram, was gone a majority of the month with the Canadian Junior team, but Kannok-Leipert did well to “hold the fort”. The right-handed, stay-at-home defenseman also tallied a goal and three assists in nine games played in December. Offensively, the Captain of Vancouver has two goals and nine assists in 34 games played this season and has registered 60 shots for the season. The four-year veteran of the WHL will be fighting for a blueline spot in Hershey in September.
Defensively, Kannok-Leipert spent time with Colorado Avalanche draft pick Bowen Byram on the top pairing, but has also been relegated to the second and third defensive-pairings. The captain of the Giants continues to play sound defense and is fairly responsible in his own end. However, he needs to continue improving on decision-making, and plays exiting and entering the zone. Offensively, Kannok-Leipert had a relatively quiet month to add to his relatively quiet season, recording a goal and four assists in 13 games played on the month of January, with three of those assists coming in co-prospect Eric Florchuk’s first game with the Giants after being traded from Saskatoon. For the season, Kannok-Leipert has three goals and 13 assists in 47 games played and 97 shots on the season for a shooting percentage of 3.1%.
Kannok-Leipert continues to quietly get things done for the Giants. He has shown signs of additional aggressiveness around the puck as of late, which he will need if he is going to be in Hershey in September. AK-41 has also seen a slight uptick in his scoring in February. He needs to have a strong March in advance of making the move, to the next level this summer/fall.
Kannok-Leipert is a gritty, physical “stay at home” type defenseman who can drop the gloves with anyone. The 2019-2020 season began with Kannok-Leipert being named captain of the Giants. Defensively, his game continued to develop this season, but was often relegated to a lower defensive pair with the emergence of Bowen Byram, the 4th overall pick in last years NHL entry draft.
Kannok Leipert could return for a fourth full season with the Giants as an “over-ager” (he turns 20 in July), be re-assigned to an ECHL team, or even has an outside shot at Hershey. With the shortened WHL season, his showing at development camp, the prospect tournament and training camp will go a long way in determining his future direction with the Capitals. He could become a free agent on June 1st, if not signed by the team.
Alex Kannok Leipert named Captain of Vancouver Giants
Alex Kannok Leipert has Saturday’s game against Regina Pats circled on his calendar
Giants’ Kannok Leipert ‘Thais’ his heritage to boosting hockey in Asia
By Jon Sorensen
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A word from our captain: “To our fans: I really hope this isn’t it. I’m hopeful that we’ll get back to playing in front of you again soon. You stuck with us throughout the year and have always been great to us. We’d love to be able to give you another good playoff run. We’re in a good mindset. We’re all hoping for the best and we’ll do what we can. We appreciate all the people that have helped us along the way and do what they do so that we can play hockey and have a fun junior career. I’ve had a great tenure with the Vancouver Giants so far and I hope to finish it off strong.” • • • 📸: @rjmedia.tech