Red Wings acquire D Nick Leddy in trade with Islanders

Detroit acquires 30-year-old defenseman for draft pick, forward Richard Panik

New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy (2) keeps control of the puck against Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point (21) during the first period of Game 3 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinals, Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Uniondale, N.Y. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (Frank Franklin Ii, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The Detroit Red Wings have acquired defenseman Nick Leddy in a trade with the New York Islanders.

Detroit will send forward Richard Panik and a 2nd-round pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft to the Islanders in exchange for Leddy, who has one year left on a 7-year contract.

Leddy, 30, costs $5.5 million against the cap with a base salary of $7 million this coming season. The 2nd-round pick is one of three the Red Wings have, or had, in this upcoming draft (starts Friday). It was originally acquired from the Oilers in the Andreas Athanasiou/Sam Gagner deal.

Panik, also 30, first joined Detroit in April through the Anthony Mantha trade with the Washington Capitals. Panik has two seasons left on his contract at $2.75 against the cap each season. Jakub Vrana also was part of that trade, along with a 2nd-round draft pick in 2022 for Steve Yzerman’s Red Wings.

Leddy joins Danny DeKeyser as the two highest-paid Red Wings defenseman, both at $5.5 million against the cap this coming season, and both will become unrestricted free agents at the end of the 2021-22 season.

Leddy had 31 points in 56 games played with the Islanders this past season. He had another 6 points in 19 playoff games as he helped the Islanders make another deep playoff run. He averaged 21:35 minutes of ice time this past season, which is slightly above his career average of 20:33.

Leddy was drafted 16th overall by the Minnesota Wild back in 2009 but the Wild ended up trading his rights to the Chicago Blackhawks while Leddy was still playing college hockey for the Minnesota Golden Gophers. He ended up winning the Stanley Cup with Chicago in 2013. He was traded to the Islanders in 2014.

Red Wings expected to be very active

This trade for Leddy is a bit surprising, sure, but Yzerman and crew are expected to be very active this offseason. That is according to NHL insider Elliotte Friedman who spoke about the team on his “31 Thoughts” podcast this week, but don’t expect any leaks:

“I think one of the problems with Detroit is that if anything gets out of there that Yzerman doesn’t want, I think all of the employees are worried that he’s going to stuff them into a freezer until one of them admits they were the source,” Friedman said.

Well put.

Friedman also believes the Red Wings are definitely interested in Zach Hyman, who the Toronto Maple Leafs may be looking to deal away. Detroit is among a long list of teams interested in the pending unrestricted free agent.

Overall, the Red Wings have a lot of cap space, perhaps even more by the end of this week, and literally anything is possible. At the very least, Detroit could be playing the role of trade facilitator.

“They have a lot of cap room. They have a lot of flexibility, and they’re unafraid to use it. And I think some teams who can’t deal with Seattle, because Seattle’s not going to deal with everybody, Seattle wants to maintain financial flexibility and they’re not taking six guys with big long term deals that teams want to get rid of, so I think Detroit is another team that’s going to be in and around that, and I do expect the Red Wings are going to try to take advantage,” said Friedman.

There could be trades leading up to the draft, trades with Seattle, trades during the draft, trades after, and free agent signings when free agency opens July 28.

The Red Wings have the following 11 picks:

Busy week ahead

NHL teams must submit Seattle Kraken expansion draft protected lists on Saturday.

Teams are then expected to announce these lists on Sunday, days before the expansion draft on Wednesday. This all happens right before the draft on Friday and then free agency on July 28. Things are about to get very busy in the hockey world.

  • July 21 -- NHL Expansion Draft
  • July 23-24 -- NHL Entry Draft
  • July 28 -- Free agency begins

About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.