Two Down, One to go before free agency

leddy Nick

Well, even if we don't know the dollars, I'm sure most of Chicago knows by now that the Hawks have signed Nick Leddy to a two year deal. As of 9PM Pacific on 7/3, the numbers aren't out, so we don't know yet what this will do to the cap. As most regulars know, I am a big fan of Leddy and in part, this is because I was also a fan of Campbell. I've joked before that Leddy is the poor man's Campbell, and I firmly believe he will continue to develop into that player and probably for better and worse when some Jackass GM (cough Holmgren cough) signs him to a Campbell like contract that fans will bitch about endlessly.

When I worked as a desk broker at the Board of Trade, I was able to trade a little bit for myself. Every once in awhile, I would put on a some tiny trade and absolutely nail the market movement. You never forget those trades and likewise, considering that Leddy was obtained for Cam Barker, Stan Bowman is probably going to keep Leddy around for as long as possible to cheer himself up when he thinks about contracts like the ones for Montador and Brookbank. Ball busting aside, I am glad to see Leddy hang around for the next couple years which will likely confirm he is the next Brian Campbell or that he's a guy who will top out somewhere between 3rd and 6th D man.

Last season, when Leddy was pushed into a role that he wasn't ready for, I thought he took way too much grief for a decision that ultimately rested with Q or Bowman. Considering his age and his size in that season, I thought Leddy did phenomenally well. But, when the team doesn't win a cup, such things aren't typically considered. At first, I thought the lockout would actually be great for Leddy in that he could face a perfect mix of skill in the AHL that was between AHL and NHL players. If some of the chatter I heard about Leddy's time in the AHL is to be believed though, Leddy played in Rockford like he didn't want to get hit or possibly hurt and kind of bumped along until he was put into a role of mentoring Clendening. Once the lockout ended, there is little to Leddy's year not to like. He was put in a better role to succeed, his minutes were lower and he was given some different roles. Admittedly, he had some struggles in the playoffs this year and while I think this could be a really big jump forward kind of year for Leddy, he is still only 22 years old.

At this point, he isn't going to get taller but can add some girth. He is never, IMO, ever, going to be a player who plays with some jam and he is going to live and die on his ability to move the puck and jump in offensively. This is a double edged sword and one that is likely going to make some fans lose their minds. Ideally, I want to see him take that jump and eventually challenge for a second pair role like Campbell had that I believe is still missed. If he doesn't make that jump, I think it's a fair question to ask if he is just a little too much bells and whistles for a third pair, when you'd like to have a little snarl and shutdown capability. For one more season in his current role, I think this is a great decision and with one year left on Hammers contract I have to think that Bowman is looking at plugging Leddy back into that second pair role although I'm not really sure Oduya is the best D partner for him. Either way, before committing to Leddy for any longer period of time, I think they need to know he's going to succeed in something beyond a third pair role if he is going to command that kind of money. This seems like a pretty good move.

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  • No shocker here, although the ice time he saw at the end might have caused enough reason for pause. He is never going to be a guy that hits, but I hope he learns how to take them better in the near future. To get into 2nd pair minutes, he has to surpass Keith, Hjalmer, Seabs, and Oduya though. Oduya played well in the playoffs this year, Hjalmer and Keith are untouchable. Hell, if Seabs wasn't so clutch, and had another season like this past one, I could see his departure in the near future. Point is, there isn't much room for him.
    BTW, Leddy is said to be 6 foot. He isn't exactly miniature.

    I am more curious what this means for Rozsival who had far and away the better performance when the going got tough. Rozi moves the puck almost as well, if not smarter, and has grit. Are we going to see the exact same defensive end this year, will Rozi take another hit to his salary to stay, and what did the Leddy signing mean for that?

    Also, how badly do the Hawks want to get Clendening or Olsen up this year? We already know that they seem eager to pull 4 forwards up from the Icehogs. Wouldn't you rather have Rozsival on the other side of the new kids?

    I would also like to say that I saw the sitting of Leddy late in the series was another folly of Q's (add it to the list right). Leddy was effective from my point of view, and he had very tired and bruised players soaking up too many minutes. I also think Hossa should have been sitting and Frolik playing in his spot given what his injuries were. To me, it seems like sitting Leddy might have helped them sign him for less, if they did in fact get a deal.

  • In reply to Hostile Hawk:

    After what the Hawks did to Leddy last season, I would hope they are not in a rush to bring up players who aren't ready. I agree that Leddy needs to be able to absorb hits better and IMO, I think he was starting to get hesitant against Boston. He still absolutely contributed, but Boston, better then any other team, seemed to be getting to him.

    Something I had wanted to say was that I hope Hammer is able to be signed for something reasonable and that is hard to say right now. IF Hammer isn't going to resign, I believe Leddy slots into that spot in his last year of this contract. Despite being 22 years old, I think Leddy's vision and thinking of the game are incredible. One of the bigger differences I see between him and Hammer and Oduya is that those two know how to take the hit to make the play happen and did so throughout the playoffs.

    At two years, the Hawks aren't committed to Leddy and Leddy still has some proving to do. If they can't get Hammer resigned after next season, they will have Leddy there. As for Q's follies, I have something in mind for that while we are killing time this summer as well as some cap stuff and injuries. Stay tuned.

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