Nick Leddy vs. Hampus Lindholm

by Rick Roos on September 16, 2015

In fantasy hockey, both Nick Leddy and Hampus Lindholm are overrated. Rick Roos explains…


After not covering defensemen in this column for several months, get ready for a second rearguard battle in three weeks – Hampus Lindholm vs. Nick Leddy. Thus far they have similar average Yahoo draft positions (123.4 for Leddy, 140.7 for Lindholm) for 2015-16, but are both safe bets to produce this season; and what can we expect from them now and in the future? You’ve come to the right place to find out – Cage Match starts now!


Career Path and Contract Status/Cap Implications

Leddy, now 24, didn’t hit the ground running during his 46 game 2010-11 audition with the Blackhawks, but at age 20/21 in 2011-12 emerged with 37 points, giving poolies visions of him as a young fantasy performer with nice upside. Unfortunately – for them and him – he’s yet to improve upon that total, instead posting a mere 49 points in his next 130 games (31 point full season pace) for Chicago, but equaling his 37 point career high last season after being traded to the Islanders right on the eve of the 2014-15 campaign.

Lindholm, 21, was the sixth overall selection by the Ducks in the 2012 draft, and parlayed his skill and draft spot into a full time role with Anaheim for the 2013-14 season. He not only posted a solid 30 point output in his first campaign – second best among rookie rearguards – but unlike Leddy, managed to improve his production in his sophomore season, inching upwards to 34 points.

According to Cap Friendly, 2015-16 is the last season of Lindholm’s ELC that brings with it a paltry $0.894M cap hit, while also marking year one of a seven year, $38.5M deal for Leddy ($5.5M cap hit). Thus, in a one year cap league Lindholm wins this match hands down.


Ice Time


Total Ice Time per game (rank among team’s defensemen)

PP Ice Time per game (rank among team’s defensemen)

SH Ice Time per game (rank among team’s defensemen


21:45 (H.L.) – 2nd

20:21 (N.L.) – 3rd

1:37 (H.L.) – 4th

2:26 (N.L.) – 3rd

1:57 (H.L.) – 3rd

0:40 (N.L.) – 6th


19:25 (H.L.) – 4th

16:22 (N.L.) – 6th

2:05 (H.L.) – 2nd

2:00 (N.L.) – 2nd

0:24 (H.L.) – 8th

0:02 (N.L.) – 2nd


17:25 (N.L.) – 7th

2:38 (N.L.) – 2nd

0:00 (N.L.)


22:04 (N.L.) – 4th

2:06 (N.L.) – 4th

1:17 (N.L.) – 6th


Lindholm owners can’t be happy seeing this data, as although his Total Ice Time jumped by 12% year to year, his PP Ice Time shrank by 22% and his SH Ice Time increased by 650%! Basically, right around 75% of his extra Ice Time from 2014-15 to 2015-16 came in the form of added SH Ice Time. Ouch!

What’s more – his rather unique combination of between 1:30 and 2:00 of both PP Ice Time and SH Ice Time put him in not so fine company, as among the other 19 NHL rearguards who, like Lindholm, had more than 1:50 SH Ice Time per game but less than 1:40 of PP Ice Time per game in 2014-15, none scored more than Lindholm’s 34 points and only two others (Travis Hamonic, Matt Niskanen) topped 30 points. Thus, if Lindholm’s PP and SH Ice Times stay in this range, he might not see his points continue to rise, and may even witness them decrease.

Leddy’s Ice Time has been on somewhat of a roller coaster even within just these four seasons. But here’s the thing – we can safely deemphasize his Chicago data in terms of assessing future Ice Time trends, as not only is he with a different team but he’s beginning a new contract paying him $5.5M per season, which screams consistent top four Ice Time.

Both players figure to be quite differently impacted by offseason arrivals and departures for their teams. No one who had more SH Ice Time per game than Leddy left the Islanders, while it’s looking more likely by the day that Lubomir Visnovsky – one of two rearguards to get more PP Ice Time per game than Leddy – won’t be returning.

As for the Ducks, James Wisniewski and his 2:17 per game on the PP are gone, but those minutes were amassed in only 13 regular season games; and although Francois Beauchemin’s 2:13 per game of SH Ice Time in 64 contests from 2014-15 is likely to be absorbed more by newcomer Kevin Bieksa than Lindholm, it’s important to note that Bieksa (who had 1:25 per game on the PP last season) probably will be in line to slide into the 1:32 of PP Ice Time that Beauchemin received, which in turn cuts against Lindholm seeing an increase in his PP role.

All in all, things are poised to improve or at least stay similar for Leddy, while the opposite might just be true for Lindholm.


Secondary Categories




(per game)


(per game)

Blocked Shots (per game)


(per game)

PP Points

(per game)


0.41 (H.L.)

0.18 (N.L.)

0.75 (H.L.)

0.93 (N.L.)

0.98 (H.L.)

1.15 (N.L.)

1.37 (H.L.)

1.54 (N.L.)

0.07 (H.L.)

0.15 (N.L.)


0.46 (H.L.)

0.12 (N.L.)

0.69 (H.L.)

0.63 (N.L.)

0.78 (H.L.)

0.55 (N.L.)

1.48 (H.L.)

1.50 (N.L.)

0.05 (H.L.)

0.12 (N.L.)


0.21 (N.L.)

0.79 (N.L.)

0.81 (N.L.)

1.35 (N.L.)

0.16 (N.L.)


0.12 (N.L.)

0.86 (N.L.)

0.95 (N.L.)

1.14 (N.L.)

0.13 (N.L.)


Leddy’s move to the Islanders appears to have paid multi-cat dividends, as his SOG per game continued its upward climb (third year in a row) and his Hits and Blocked Shots were the highest of these seasons, suggesting that he’s trending in the right direction in his top four role on his new team. But before we get carried away, Leddy’s secondary category outputs are still far from elite, and his PIM in particular remain downright lousy.


Like Leddy, Lindholm saw his Hits and Blocked Shots output increase last season; however, Lindholm is trending in the wrong direction in SOG, and his PP Points went from horrible to merely terrible. Just how bad has Lindholm’s PP output been? Only one other d-man (Danny DeKeyser) scored above 28 points last season without having more than six PPP. And in 2013-14, the highest point total posted by a rearguard – other than Lindholm – who played in 75+ games but posted four PPP (which was Lindholm’s total) or less, was 26 (Niklas Hjalmarsson).

Beyond that, in 2014-15 only one player (Nicklas Kronwall) who skated in 78 or more games and had fewer shots than Lindholm’s 107 actually had more points than Lindholm’s 34. This PPP and SOG data underscores how Lindholm might have a tough time seeing his point total even hold at 34 for 2015-16, let alone further improve.


Luck-Based Metrics


PDO/SPSV (5×5)

Offensive Zone Starting % (5×5)

IPP (5×5)

IPP (5×4)


1034 (H.L.)

1006 (N.L.)

49.5% (H.L.)

54.0% (N.L.)

41.0% (H.L.)

43.6% (N.L.)

41.7% (H.L.)

63.2% (N.L.)


1034 (H.L.)

997 (N.L.)

53.0% (H.L.)

63.3% (N.L.)

32.9% (H.L.)

38.0% (N.L.)

30.8% (H.L.)

62.5% (N.L.)


1026 (N.L.)

58.5% (N.L.)

29.6% (N.L.)

88.9% (N.L.)


977 (N.L.)

54.6% (N.L.)

42.1% (N.L.)

57.9% (N.L.)


Here’s still more futility from Lindholm with the man advantage, as his 5×4 IPPs from last season and his rookie campaign confirm he simply does not drive PP scoring. And given his decrease in PP Ice Time, Anaheim seems to have realized this as well. A further sign of Anaheim looking at Lindholm in a role that doesn’t emphasize scoring, is that his OZ% fell to 49.5%, placing him 5th among Anaheim defensemen who played 60+ games last season, whereas in 2013-14 he had the highest OZ% among Ducks d-men. One lone bit of somewhat good news is although Lindholm’s 1034 IPO/SPSV falls outside the “normal” range (generally regarded as 970-1030), he posted the same number in both seasons, suggesting he likely has not unsustainably benefitted from doing so.


The data in Leddy’s two 37 point seasons (2011-12 and 2014-15) was nearly identical, which signifies he was likely neither unsustainably lucky nor unlucky in either season. On the down side, it also suggests that even if Leddy was able to climb to 40+ points in 2015-16, it’s not likely that he’d be able to hit 45 in a season without the benefit of unsustainable good luck or major increases in Ice Time.


Past Player Data Comparisons

I put stock in past data to assess the possible present and future paths of players who might be too young to be gauged based entirely on their own trends. In this case, we happen to have an interesting piece of data for each player, namely Leddy having played in a large number of games before turning 25 and Lindholm having posted 30+ points in each of his first two seasons before turning 22.

Since 2005-06, a total of 16 d-men (in addition to Leddy) played 335+ NHL games or more before turning 25. And although the list includes a number of top d-men like Erik Karlsson, Kris Letang, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Victor Hedman, and Drew Doughty, it also features several former first rounders who ended up unremarkable fantasy performers (Andrej Meszaros, Luke Schenn, Dmitri Kulikov, Zach Bogosian). Moreover, unlike Leddy each of the top d-men had scored 40+ points before turning 24 years old, whereas none of the “duds” had done so. While of course alone this doesn’t mean that Leddy won’t ultimately reach 40 points, it does add further fuel to that argument.

Meanwhile, within the same 2005 to present time frame, there have been a mere four d-men (other than Lindholm) to post 30+ points in each of their first two seasons prior to turning 22. But while one would think the caliber of d-men who meet these criteria would be top notch, the opposite is actually true – the list includes Meszaros, plus Tyler Myers, Erik Johnson, and Dion Phaneuf. Note that Leddy and OEL likely would’ve been on this list too if not for their second season occurring in lockout-shortened 2012-13, when Leddy posted 18 points in 48 games (30.75 points full season pace) and OEL 24 points in 48 games (41 points pace).


Who Wins?


Leddy wins, less so because he’s the “better player” and more because Lindholm’s actual present and future value looks to be less – perhaps even far less – than the perceived value most poolies would assign to him based on top level stats like points and Total Ice Time. In a nutshell, as talented a player as Lindholm might be, signs are already pointing to Anaheim envisioning him occupying a role that will not be conductive to him posting 40 points. Not in 2015-16, and perhaps – like Meszaros – not ever.


And although it’s true that Lindholm ranked very high in 5×5 production last season, past and present data shows that alone won’t be enough to put him over the 40 point mark – PP production is needed as well. And not only does Vatanen have to contend with Sami Vatanen, Cam Fowler, and Bieksa for PP Ice Time, but looming in the not too distant future is the arrival of much heralded Shea Theodore, who ranks ninth among NHL defenseman prospects according to DobberHockey.


But here’s the thing — there also isn’t a lot to get excited about regarding Leddy, who might be able to reach 40 points but is unlikely to ever hit 45 unless his Ice Time goes way up. After all, his IPPs last season were already pretty high and he’s unlikely to be “the” offensive focal point from the blueline, especially since he too will have to contend with a top ten prospect in Ryan Pulock. The difference is, unlike Lindholm, Leddy isn’t being overvalued for the present or future.


If you have Lindholm in a keeper, I think you owe it to yourself to shop him around, particularly if you’re looking to win within the next couple of years, since he could likely net you a pretty nice return in trade while his perceived value is still very high. On the other hand, a case could be made to hold Leddy, since he won’t likely land you something better in return, or to see if someone might want him in your league, as chances are you won’t live to regret dealing him.


And I’d avoid drafting either guy in a one-year league because about the best you could hope for is to get the value you paid, while it’s also very possible that their cost exceeds the actual value they end up giving your team. Two players being drafted in similar territory in Yahoo leagues who might be better to target in terms of cost vs. value are John Klingberg (124.6 average draft position) or Jake Muzzin (143.3), both of whom should easily outscore both Leddy and Lindholm.