One of the most underrated trades in recent NHL history occurred Feb. 12, 2010, when the Blackhawks sent Cam Barker to the Wild for Nick Leddy.
Leddy, drafted 16th overall in 2009, has since developed into a premier puck-moving defenseman, logging 21:42 a game for Chicago, where the 20-year-old currently leads all blue-liners in scoring with two goals and 12 assists.
Moreover, Leddy’s ascension allowed general manager Stan Bowman to trade Brian Campbell to Florida this summer, freeing up valuable cap space without losing much in the process.
After 20 games, the Blackhawks (12-5-3) sit first overall in the league with 27 points. And if that’s not sweet enough for their fans, the GM has a pile of money to spend if the opportunity should arise.
“We’re not in a rush to spend money,” Bowman said Friday, as reported by the Chicago Tribune. “It’s really a bit of an oddity for us. In the last couple of years … we’ve been playing things day-by-day — literally — in terms of sending guys down and shuttling them back and forth. In an ideal world you would like to try to keep your guys here and have room if you do have injuries or if you have an opportunity to improve your team. That’s how we’re going to approach it.
“We do have a lot more cap space than we’ve ever had. When the time is right, if that opportunity comes, we won’t be hesitant to move on it. Right now, we don’t have any things that we’re close to doing or looking at, but we’re always looking ahead about what might be there.”
To which the rest of the league replied, “Hey…awesome.”