The New York Islanders made a big splash on Tuesday, agreeing to a seven-year contract extension with Nick Leddy.
“Nick has proven to be an elite defenseman in this league at a young age,” Islanders General Manager Garth Snow said in a statement. “He’s the type of player on the ice, in the locker room and in the community that we’re thrilled to add as a cornerstone of our defensive core.”
Leddy’s new deal is worth $38.5 million, which carries an average annual cap hit of $5.5M. It’s a significant raise from the $2.7 million he was making on his previous deal and makes him the team’s highest-paid defenseman, tied with John Tavares for the biggest cap hit on the team.
The 23-year-old was acquired just before the start of the regular season from Chicago and has turned into a key piece of the Isles’ blueline. The former first-round pick leads all New York defensemen in goals, with eight, and sits second to Johnny Boychuk in points, with 25. Leddy also averages over 20 minutes a night and has a plus-12 rating, the fourth-best on the team.
With this signing, Leddy — who was a pending RFA — is locked into the Isles through the 2021-22 campaign and is part of a young core that includes 24-year-old Travis Hamonic (signed through 2020), 23-year-old Calvin de Haan (signed through 2017).
All eyes will now turn to Snow’s negotiations with pending UFA Boychuk, who could opt to test the open market on July 1.