The veteran defenseman has been strengthening the Blues’ defense since his trade deadline acquisition.
The St. Louis Blues eliminated the Minnesota Wild in six games with a 5-1 win at the Enterprise Center on Thursday night. Veteran defenseman Nick Leddy opened the scoring with his first postseason goal as a member of the Blues off a pass from fellow defenseman Colton Parayko.
The Detroit Red Wings traded Leddy, and defenseman and right winger Luke Witkowski, to the Blues in exchange for center Oskar Sundqvist, defenseman Jake Walman, and a 2023 second-round draft pick on March 21, 2022.
Leddy previously played for the New York Islanders and Chicago Blackhawks. He was originally drafted 16th overall by the Wild in the 2009 NHL Draft, but Minnesota traded his and defenseman Kim Johnsson’s NHL rights to the Blackhawks in exchange for defenseman Cam Barker.
When I first heard about the Leddy trade, I thought it was good news as the Blues needed veteran defensive help at the time. He was in the final year of a seven-year contract with an AAV of $5.5 million. That being said, he was an affordable trade pickup for St. Louis.
In his lone season with Detroit, Leddy recorded 16 points (1 goal, 15 assists) and a -33 rating in 55 games from 2021-22. He put up better numbers with the Islanders and Blackhawks.
Either way, he was just what the Blues needed — a top-six defenseman with great puck movement, especially on the power play, and great control in the offensive zone.
Leddy recorded eight points (two goals, six assists) in 20 regular season games with the Blues. If you like defensemen that lean on offense, he’s your guy.
I recently talked with Ash Gibbs, a Canadian Blues fan, about Leddy. If you’re a diehard Blues fan, you probably remember his name. And, if not, he was featured in Benjamin Hochman’s article, Hochman: ‘I was the only guy cheering.’ The story of Blues fan in famous Game 5 Photo, in 2019.
Gibbs said: “He has been known as an [offensive] zone threat and he has been helping as a shut down minute eater partner with [Colton] Parayko this previous series. He will be likely doing the same thing against the Avs’ top line of 29-96-92 [Nathan MacKinnon-Mikko Rantanen-Gabriel Landeskog].”
Gibbs added: “He’s such an effortless skater and calm no rush or carelessness with the puck.”
Aside from being fun to watch, Leddy made a difference in the first round, despite only playing three of six games against the Wild. He held the Wild’s Kirill Kaprizov to zero goals for 23:26 of 5-on-5 play with four high-danger chances, according to NHL.com’s Lou Korac.
So, even if you weren’t thrilled about the Leddy trade, you shouldn’t underestimate Leddy and his defensive abilities. Leddy’s been more than useful, he also complements the Blues’ defensive unit and brings even more experience to the team.