The Detroit Red Wings have acquired defenseman Nick Leddy from the New York Islanders for forward Richard Panik and a second-round pick.
Leddy was the top-scoring defenseman on the Islanders last season with 31 points in 56 games. This was his best point-per-game output (0.55 PTS/GP) of the last four seasons. He also led all Islanders' players with 11 power-play points, and finished with the highest average power-play time among defensemen (2:10 PPTOI). He was being shopped because the Islanders needed cap room to sign RFAs Anthony Beauvillier, Adam Pelech, and Ilya Sorokin.
Panik was acquired by Detroit in the Anthony Mantha trade, finishing his short Red Wings stint with four points in 12 games. He will likely slot in as a middle-6 forward for the Islanders. The Wings will retain half of Panik's $2.75 million cap hit.
Leddy gives the Red Wings a left-shot option, a side that they needed help with. He's also an option for the first-unit power play, which could hurt the value Filip Hronek, who led the Wings in both points and power-play points in 2020-21. With the current lack of scoring options that the Wings have, it’s possible that they try both d-men on the first unit, as Hronek is a right shot.
In the nearer term, either Dennis Cholowski or Troy Stecher could now be left unprotected for Seattle expansion. Between those two, Cholowski would stand to lose the most if he stays because he is also a left shot and he was used more often on the power play (when he was in the lineup) than Stecher.
Only Anaheim scored fewer goals and power-play goals than Detroit last season, so we're not talking about a huge offensive bonanza to go around here. Leddy should be leaned upon heavily by the Wings overall, but that doesn't necessarily mean his scoring stats will improve as a result.
One other consideration is that Leddy is on the final year on his contract ($5.5 million). Assuming that the Red Wings are out of the playoff picture in the Atlantic Division (which seems highly likely given the composition of that division), Leddy would make great trade bait as they continue their rebuild. So, we could be writing another one of these about Leddy come trade deadline time.
Players this helps, in order:
Players this hurts, in order: