The Islanders traded a prominent defenseman, seemingly for cap reasons, but this time they won. The Islanders didn’t just gain salary cap room in the Nick Leddy trade to the Red Wings; they also pried some assets from Detroit.
Islanders receive: Richard Panik (now at a $1.375M AAV for two more seasons with 50-percent retention) and a 2021 second-round pick (52nd overall).
Red Wings receive: Nick Leddy ($5.5M AAV, contract expires after next season).
Considering circumstances, Leddy trade a win for Islanders over Red Wings
It hasn’t been the best week for current and former Red Wings executives making good-value trades for former Blackhawks defensemen.
First, Ken Holland didn’t convince the Blackhawks to retain salary in sending Duncan Keith to the Oilers. Next, Steve Yzerman sent the Islanders a second-rounder, and retained salary for Panik, to relieve the pressure of Nick Leddy’s $5.5M cap hit. That translates to $4.125M in cap savings for the Islanders, not to mention the 52nd pick.
Leddy, 30, is entering a contract year. At the moment, he’ll be the Red Wings’ highest-paid defenseman from a cap hit perspective (Danny DeKeyser‘s close behind at $5M flat).
While the Islanders likely valued Leddy’s presence, he’ll need quite the rebound to deliver much value for the Red Wings:
Nick Leddy, acquired by DET, has not been a strong playdriver at all in recent years despite strong offensive zone playmaking, pretty skating, and prolific zone entry numbers. #LGRW pic.twitter.com/DfunzelpwF
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) July 17, 2021
Maybe the Red Wings simply believe Leddy is better than those numbers indicate? Perhaps they figure they need someone on that blueline? Theoretically, they may also be able to recoup comparable (or better?) trade assets for Leddy during the deadline?
Either way, it’s impressive stuff from GM of the Year Lou Lamoriello. This also marks another daunting moment for people who expect GMs to exploit leverage and cap desperation. (Apparently those failures aren’t merely limited to a lack of offer sheets.)