The Free Press’s Helene St. James suggests that the Red Wings could earn “double value” for Nick Leddy by utilizing his veteran presence to stabilize the Wings’ blueline…before trading him for a draft pick or two at the trade deadline:
Leddy joined the Wings in July after seven seasons with the Islanders. New York faced a roster dilemma because of the Seattle expansion drafted, and Wings general manager Steve Yzerman took advantage. Getting Leddy cost only a second-round pick in the 2021 draft, and veteran forward Richard Pánik, the throw-in from the Anthony Mantha trade, and the draft pick originally was Edmonton’s, acquired as part of the 2020 Andreas Athanasiou trade.
In return, the Wings bolstered their defense, adding a veteran who, along with Danny DeKeyser and Marc Staal, is helping develop Seider, Hronek and Gustav Lindstrom.
“It’s hard to be a young defenseman in this league,” Blashill said. “The league has gotten younger, certainly, over the last number of years, but the guys who have really been able to make an impact early and helped teams win are forwards. You have some guys like Seider who can help you, but it’s hard to be a young defenseman. There’s a ton of learning that goes along with it.
“That learning is facilitated by veterans like Staal, DeKeyser and Leddy. Those guys are critical extensions of a coaching staff and have way more impact than any coach would have when they’re kind of talking through situations and reinforcing some of the thoughts and beliefs that we have as a coaching staff. I think their presence has been huge in the development of our younger defensemen down that right side.”
Leddy may not finish the season in Wings uniform. He’s an attractive age (31 in March), and in the last year of his contract. He regularly surpassed 30 assists from 2015-2018, and had 29 as recently as last season. That’s a combination that’s bound to appeal to Stanley Cup contenders at the trade deadline. The Islanders came into the season as such, but they were on the road for the first 13 games while their new arena was being finished, and after that 5-6-2 start their lineup was decimated by the coronavirus.
Getting back a guy who was a key part of consecutive third-round playoff appearances could appeal to the Islanders as they try to right themselves. If the Wings keep winning enough to be in the playoff picture on March 21, things will be different, of course, but there’s certainly potential for Yzerman to get even more in return for Leddy than what he paid for him.