New York Islanders: What’s Wrong With Nick Leddy?
By Matt O'Leary
Through four games this year, and most of last year with the New York Islanders, Nick Leddy hasn’t been very good. What seems to be the issue?
One of the best moves of the Garth Snow era was when the New York Islanders traded for Nick Leddy on the eve of the 2014-2015 season. He was immediately put on the top pair and he even gained some Norris consideration, finishing in the top-20 for the award.
Through the 2016-2017 season, Nick Leddy was far and away the best Islanders defenseman. His best year, production wise, was 2016-2017 when he put up 46 points. Things changed the following season, last year.
The first month of the year was a solid one for Leddy, who had 20 points in the team’s first 23 games. He’d follow that up with 22 points over his final 57 games. On top of the dip in production, his plus-minus plummeted.
I’ll argue until I’m blue in the face that the plus-minus stat isn’t the best tool to rate a player, but a -42 is indefensible. He was flat out bad, and one of the culprits to why the Islanders defense was so poor in 2017-2018.
He finished the season with the lowest corsi-for of his career with a 46.9 percent. His average game score was .37 which is just okay. For reference, .45 to .95 is good and anything above that is amazing.
If you go back and look at his game score for each individual game he had 19 “awful” ( <-.15) games and 19 “bad” (.15 – -.15) games. That’s nearly half the season of bad or awful games from your best defender which is unacceptable.
Fast forward to this year and things have actually gotten worse for Nick Leddy. Granted, it’s been a small sample size, only four games but we have seen a regression from last season.
Nick Leddy’s corsi-for is a stomach-turning 37.0 percent. Let that sink in for a second. That means that when Leddy’s on the ice the opposing team is controlling the puck for 67 percent of the time. The game score numbers are even worse.
In four games, Leddy hasn’t received a game score higher than -.05. His average game score is -.38 which is the lowest on the team by .14.
Frankly, I don’t have an answer to what’s wrong with Nick Leddy, it was more of a rhetorical question. All I can do is present that data that proves he’s been flat out awful for the last ten months. Right now, he’s on the second pair with Johnny Boychuk, but a reunion to the top-pair may be in the cards with Adam Pelech playing below expectations as well.
The Islanders defense is just as bad as we assumed it would be heading into this season. Barry Trotz has a lot on his plate with this team’s personnel.