With the LA Kings reportedly interested in a LHD this offseason, one scenario that could work is acquiring Nick Leddy from the Islanders.
While the LA Kings have made it clear that they plan to sign a left-handed defenseman in free agency, another alternative is using one of their second-round picks, which would presumably be used to draft a defenseman, to acquire a proven veteran. With Ben Hutton hitting the free-agent market, a couple guys from the prospect pool are expected to be up with the NHL roster on Opening Night.
However, the Kings will either need to re-sign Hutton, sign a free agent or trade for someone. Today, we are looking at the third option, and specifically at acquiring Nick Leddy from the New York Islanders. It’s hard to believe that Leddy is still only 29 years old. I remember him playing with the Blackhawks during their Stanley Cup runs, but he also made his debut at age 19.
The former 16th overall pick by the Minnesota Wild was traded from the Blackhawks to the Islanders before the 2014-2015 season. In February 2015, the Islanders signed him to a seven-year contract extension. And while their season could presumably come to a conclusion in Saturday’s winner-take-all game seven against Philadelphia, the Islanders will eventually have to turn their attention to their salary cap situation.
With a flat $81.5M cap for the next several seasons, the Isles are looking at approximately $8M in available cap space to use how they see fit. But they do have several notable restricted and unrestricted free agents to re-sign this offseason, which could see them part with a veteran on a high AAV contract.
Leddy has two years left on his deal after this season at a $5.5M AAV cap hit. He tallied three goals with 18 assists, including a goal on the man advantage in the COVID-19 shortened season this year. He has historically averaged approximately 100 blocked shots and hits each year and was given Norris Trophy consideration in his first year with the Isles.
This past season, he was good for a 3.7 point share, broken down into a 0.9 OPS and 2.9 DPS, so his talents have shifted to the defensive zone under Barry Trotz. Before Trotz arrived, Leddy tallied a career-best 4.1 OPS in the 2016-2017 campaign in which he scored 11 goals with 35 assists.
I spoke with Michael Anderson, the site editor for Eyes on Isles, about the potential of the LA Kings acquiring Leddy in exchange for a second-round pick.
“Nick Leddy is likely going to be on the trade market this offseason. The Islanders desperately need cap space for 20-21. He’s a good veteran puck-moving D. The Islanders could sign Andy Greene to be the team’s third LD with youngster Noah Dobson shadowing him as the RD on that pair. Leddy can still be a top 4 player on another team, just not in Barry Trotz’s system. A second-round pick for him would be fair.” – Michael Anderson/Eyes on Isles
Keep in mind that the Isles don’t have a first or second-round pick in the draft this season, so there is some incentive to make this move other than financial motivation. He spent the majority of the year paired with Ryan Pulock, but he also played quite a few games on the second pairing with Scott Mayfield. He would fit well with an offensive-minded defenseman like Matt Roy on the Kings second pairing.
What do you think about acquiring Nick Leddy this offseason?