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Where shall we begin? The Portuguese Wonder entered the VHL with high expectations of himself, and that's what we have to evaluate.


Entering the 82nd season as a waiver, Leandro chose Mississauga as his home in the VHLM. His other choice would have been San Diego, who went to the conference finals last year but couldn't repeat that success.


Even the most aloof reader knows his first year was be doomed from the start. He was able to choose his destiny, but was he wise?


"Ice time."


His intentions were clear from the beginning. This would be the most important to his decision. And decide he did - rejecting offers from Halifax and Houston.


Now, you're asking yourself how he passed on an offer made by Houston, one of the favorites to win the Founders Cup. This would have given him more exposure, a more favorable role to play, and the possibility for better stats.


Mississauga was his choice, but that chapter ended after only 22 games. During that time, where he led the 1st-line, there was not much to highlight. 5 points, 10 assists, and a whopping -24 in the plus/minus column.


Even so, those were the stats of one of the best Hounds. Also appointed Alternate captain, displayed a great work ethic, and was one of the most active players in the league.


So other teams came calling, and the Mexico City Kings were the winners of the sweepstakes, trading a 2nd, 3rd, and 5th round pick in the season 83 draft for Hunor Solyom and Leandro Goncalves.


Were things about to change for Leandro?


In Mexico City, he was put in the 3-rd line, which allowed him to get acclimated to the team, the strategy, and the new city.


Unimpressive at first, he didn't lose focus, striving for better play on the ice. Slowly he started to get some traction, but he did need that dozen games to begin competing and turn things around for himself.


This uptick in his game gave him the nod from the General Manager and coach and took him up a line. 


Now leading the 2nd-line, he played freely, and we could see it in how he skated, handled the puck, and shot it on goal. This allowed him to finish the season on a high note with the Kings, adding 50 games, 22 goals, and 28 assists.


His plus/minus on the Kings ended as a -6, but his impact on the game was never unseen. Defensively, he improved massively, putting the Leandro that started the season to shame. His IQ improved tremendously, maybe because he had so much time on special teams.


But his best self was still to be seen. In the second round of the playoffs, a surprising decision was made. Leandro got moved up to the 1st-line, and with Matt Rooster getting the call on the wing, Leandro was the new Kings Center.


What a show he put on in that 7-game series.


In three of those games, he was awarded the #1 star. And, don't forget this was against the number 1 ranked prospect, Scotty Sundin. He ended the series with 6 goals, 9 assists, and a +5. Truly amazing.


Considering the first-round sweep of the Lynx, he finished his first (and only) VHLM playoffs with 11 games played, 8 goals, 13 assists, and +9. If we look at more advanced stats, he had a 22% shooting percentage, 55% of face-offs won, and a 1.41 P/20 (Points per 20 Minutes). In those categories, he ranks 2nd, 4th, and 5th, respectively, among eligible players.


This may not say much about his future, but it does seem like the beginning of a 'wonderful' career.

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