Red Wings: What’s In Store For Nick Leddy’s First Year in Detroit?

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - MARCH 09: Nick Leddy #2 of the New York Islanders skates against the Boston Bruins at the Nassau Coliseum on March 09, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - MARCH 09: Nick Leddy #2 of the New York Islanders skates against the Boston Bruins at the Nassau Coliseum on March 09, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Nick Leddy is an important part of a Detroit Red Wings defense that is deeper than fans have seen in quite some time. Leddy not only has a shot to improve the team’s offense with his unique skillset, he also has one of the most important jobs on the team this year: mentoring Moritz Seider.

Age: 30

Left Shot Defenseman

First Season With the Red Wings

Stats Snapshot:

Goals: 2

Assists: 29

CF%: 50.2

Pts/60: 1.5

ixG: 3.9

GAR: 4.6

(Advanced Stats Courtesy of Evolving-Hockey)

Last Season With the Islanders

Although he’s not quite what he was a five years ago with the Islanders, Leddy was still an important part of the Islanders team in 2020-21. In fact, he had some stretches in the season where he looked like he was still in his prime.

While Detroit fans didn’t get a chance to examine Leddy last season, the numbers help tell the story of 2020-21. Not only was he solid defensively, he had his best offensive output since 2017-18. Leddy contributed to the Islander’s offense with 31 points and a third of those points (one goal and 10 assists) came on the Islander’s power play. Leddy was not traded to Red Wings because of a rough season – by statistical measures, it was his best in years. His $5.5 million contract was a bit too much for the cash-strapped Islanders.

Best Case Scenario for This Season

Leddy fits in his given role of mentor perfectly and guides Moritz Seider to the Calder Cup. The duo plays off each other well and Seider takes massive steps in his rookie year.

Leddy also helps the power play find it’s legs. He finds a way to translate his success on the man advantage to Detroit, racking up (and maybe leading the team in) assists along the way. Leddy stays hot until the trade deadline, where’s he’s flipped for a second, effectively recouping the asset lost in the trade with the Islanders.

Worst Case Scenario

Seider and Leddy just can’t find chemistry. The duo struggle to find success as a pairing throughout the first two weeks, which leads to some reshuffling of defensive pairings. Leddy essentially only brings a veteran presence to Detroit and doesn’t attract many calls at the deadline. Detroit and Leddy part unceremoniously at the end of the season.

The Prediction Part

The Seider hype train is in full force, so who am I to stop it? I think Leddy’s greatest contribution to the Detroit Red Wings organization will be training Seider in the ways of the NHL. If he can pass on his high-level puck moving ability to Seider and help him transition his offensive game to the best league in the world, Leddy will be a hero in Detroit.

I also think Leddy ends up finding a role on the offense. As I mentioned before, Leddy’s puck movement is quite good, and it’s not a common skill on Detroit’s defensive roster. Last year, as the offense struggled to get anywhere, the defensemen were especially ineffective in their offensive output (save for Filip Hronek and his secondary assists).

Possibility of Being a Trade Deadline Target: Likely

Leddy is a veteran in a position where the Red Wings are very deep. There’s a good chance he’s gone at the deadline, especially if he has a strong start to the year. The Red Wings traded away two defensemen at the deadline last season (Patrik Nemeth and Jon Merrill) and there were even a few rumors about moving Marc Staal. If Steve Yzerman retains salary and finds the right buyer, the Red Wings could get back some of the capital they lost in acquiring Leddy.

The Bottom Line

Leddy is going to be a fun Red Wings to watch. He’s going to be one of the more exciting defensemen, especially on offense. While he might not rack up the goals, he’s excellent at cycling offensive possession and maintaining in the offensive zone. In other words, he’s going to rack up some assists throughout the year.

More importantly, Leddy will be paired with Detroit’s most exciting prospect in Moritz Seider – all eyes will be on that pair from day one. Although he doesn’t really factor into the long term plans of the team, Leddy can become a hero if he can successfully mentor Seider.

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