Detroit Red Wings: Predicting where Nick Leddy fits in

(Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
(Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /

Steve Yzerman and the Detroit Red Wings have made their first offseason splash adding veteran defenseman Nick Leddy.

The Detroit Red Wings are trading forward Richard Panik and a second-round pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Level Draft for Leddy.  Detroit will also be retaining 50% (the maximum allowed) of Richard Panik’s deal.  That’s $1.3 million over the next two seasons.

Leddy is coming off of a career recording 31 points in 56 games this past season.  Leddy only scored two goals last season but has scored ten or more three times during his 11-year career.  Last season with the Islanders, Leddy averaged 21:35 minutes per game and produced a Corsi For Percentage of 46.4%.

Not only does Detroit need a defender to produce offensively other than Hronek, but they also need one to pair with Moritz Seider down the road.  Leddy checks both boxes.

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I expect Leddy to be immediately inserted on Detroit’s top pairing with Filip Hornek to begin next season.

As it stands now, I expect Detroit’s depth chart on the backend to look something like this to start the 2021-22 season;

  1. Leddy/Hronek
  2. Djoos/Stecher
  3. DeKeyser/Seider

In most cases, I’d begrudgingly insert DeKeyser with Stecher on Detroit’s second pairing, but I feel he’d be best utilized paired with Seider.  Having a veteran defender to play alongside as a rookie will be very beneficial as Seider cuts his teeth at the NHL level.  Being paired with Dennis Cholowski or Christian Djoos doesn’t seem like a wise coaching approach.

I also would not rule out bringing back veteran defenseman Marc Staal for the lone purpose of pairing him with Seider.  Staal performed, to much of my surprise, fairly well last season with the Detroit Red Wings.

The Detroit Red Wings add veteran defenseman Nick Leddy via trade.

This is not exactly a deal I would have expected Steve Yzerman to make.  Leddy has two years remaining on his contract that averages $5.5 million per season. Giving up one of their three second-round picks for a 30-year old defender just doesn’t fit the prototypical rebuilding model.  In other words, Yzerman has us right where he wants us, clueless.

Many of us, myself included, have given Yzerman the benefit of the doubt as he continues to deploy his YzerPlan, rebuilding the Detroit Red Wings.  Yzerman has earned our trust after seeing what he did taking a Tampa Bay Lightning roster from rubble to riches, but also what he brought to the city of Detroit as a player.

Certainly, all of Yzerman’s decisions won’t work out in Detroit’s favor. Still, he seems to be off to a great start drafting Moritz Seider, Lucas Raymond in back-to-back draft classes along with flipping Anthony Mantha, who had worn out his welcome for a potential star in Jakub Vrana.

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Basically, what I am saying is that if Yzerman wants to add Leddy, I’m all for it, although I am still trying to wrap my head around giving up that second-round draft capital.