The math is simple: Chicago needs to shed about $1.3 million to be cap compliant, and around $2.2 million if they want any young prospects — like, say Teuvo Teravainen — to be on the active roster this year.
That math has turned attention toward a pair of potentially expendable blueliners: Johnny Oduya and Nick Leddy, both of whom are pending free agents (Oduya UFA, Leddy RFA), that have the necessary cap hits to free up space.
Per ESPN Chicago, both are aware of their statuses as trade bait:
Leddy and Oduya said Thursday they have been ignoring trade rumors and focusing on preparing for the season.
“It’s obviously something you guys like to talk about and spin your head around and whatever different possibilities or not,” said Oduya, who has been traded twice in his NHL career. “But I think for us and for me, too, I can only focus on what I’m doing. I think it’s completely out of my hands what’s going to happen or not. I realize this is the nature of the game and the business we’re in. I’ve been in situations like this before. For me, trying to focus on what I’m doing. Today is a game, so that’s what I’m focusing on today.”
Leddy had the same mentality.
“It’s not something I can control. It’s out of my control,” said Leddy, who has been traded once. “For me, what I need to focus on is getting better every day and just focus on the team.”
There’s not an awful lot to choose between the two. Both are lefties, both are quality puck-moving defensemen and both make relatively similar money (Oduya $3.3M, Leddy $2.7M). The big differences, are age and contract status — Oduya’s 32 and goes unrestricted on July 1, whereas Leddy is 23 and restricted. That alone should make Leddy the more valuable asset (you’d think), but don’t forget Leddy is still something of a work in progress, prone to lapses, and was a healthy scratch during Chicago’s second-round playoff win over Minnesota last season.