New York Islanders Add Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy


The New York Islanders acquired Nick Leddy from the Chicago Blackhawks for defensemen TJ Brennan, Ville Pokka, and goaltender Anders Nilsson.  Prior to that move Saturday afternoon, the Islanders sent 3 future draft picks to the Boston Bruins for defenseman Johnny Boychuk.  It goes without saying that these are two huge trades for the Isles with less than a week before the start of the NHL season.

May 21, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Nick Leddy (8) with the puck during the first period of game two of the Western Conference Final of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Los Angeles Kings at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Going into this season the New York Islanders needed to shore up their goaltending and defense corps.  Without trading any NHL talent, the General Manager Garth Snow has done just that.  Leddy and Boychuk give the Isles two legitimate top 6 defensemen, and also allows for further development of younger prospects Griffin Reinhart and Ryan Pulock.  Prior to this trade, most people had Reinhart penciled in the opening day top-6, but he has been hurt nearly all pre-season and would do well with a start in Bridgeport.  This is how I see the D pairings after these trades:

Travis Hamonic-Nick Leddy

Calvin de HaanLubomir Visnovsky

Johnny Boychuk-Thomas Hickey

Brian Strait as the 7th defenseman and probable healthy scratch.

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These moves give the Islanders a legitimate top 6 defense corps, not to mention added firepower on the Power Play from Leddy.  Leddy and Boychuk have both won Stanley Cups and have played in a combined 133 playoff games.  Leddy is a restricted free agent after the 2015-16 season and is only 23 years old.  Boychuk is an unrestricted free agent after this year and will turn 31 in January.  Leddy is by far the more offensive of the two, scoring 31 points last season (7 goals and 24 assists) and figures to fit in nicely on the second power-play unit.  Leddy is also considered to be one of the better skating defensemen in the league.

Boychuk is the more defensive defensemen of the two, and has fared extremely well in the playoffs while shutting down the top teams in the Eastern Conference.  He’ll be a welcome sight for Isles fans, especially after being one of the worst teams in the league in goals against last year.

If you weren’t excited for Islanders hockey before today, you should be now.  These moves should also put the Garth Snow “haters” to bed.  This has been a tremendous off-season for Snow.  He has improved the team in the 2 biggest areas it needed the most, and didn’t have to sacrifice prime talent to do so.  Yes, the games are played on the ice and not on paper, however at this point anything short of making the playoffs would be not just a bitter disappointment but entirely unacceptable.