Detroit Red Wings acquire Nick Leddy from New York Islanders for Richard Panik, draft pick
UPDATE: The Detroit #RedWings acquired D Nick Leddy from the New York Islanders in exchange for F Richard Panik and the 52nd selection (originally EDM) in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. pic.twitter.com/SNWmaoV14q— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) July 17, 2021
Leddy, 30, is entering the final year of a seven-year pact that pays $5.5-million annually. In 56 games last season, he averaged 21:35 a night in ice-time, and contributed 31 points to the cause.
Though his form has declined in recent years, Leddy can still be counted on to reliably handle second-pair minutes and chip in with the odd bit of offence. He's a good skater, a steady puck-mover, and a veteran presence that will prove useful on such an inexperienced team as the Red Wings next season.
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
There is doubtless a performance component to this trade for the Islanders, a team with legitimate Stanley Cup aspirations just one month removed from their second straight conference finals appearance. The driving factor, though, was probably equal parts salary and expansion draft considerations.
Leddy's $5.5-million ticket was far too rich for the Islanders to justify given their off-season priorities, signing or replacing Adam Pelech, Anthony Beauvillier, Ilya Sorokin, and Casey Cizikas foremost among them. Had they not dealt Leddy, they would've had to leave him exposed for next week's expansion draft, almost certainly losing him for nothing to Seattle.
Instead, they turned Leddy into a second-round pick, and took on Pánik for two seasons at a reasonable $1.375-million price point -- Daily Faceoff's Frank Seravalli reported that the Red Wings will retain 50 percent of Pánik's salary.
It's not the sort of move I'd expected from the Red Wings this off-season, but there could be some method to the madness. Leddy can still play. They're going to need someone to play with Moritz Seider next season, and he seems like as good a fit as any that was available to them. And if they retain 50 percent of Leddy's salary at the deadline, it's easy to imagine a scenario where they bring back a haul of picks or prospects far more valuable than the late second-round pick they parted with to acquire him.
Both parties can leave this transaction more or less satisfied with how things went down.