Islanders “who says no” trade: Nick Leddy to Montreal Canadiens

Nick Leddy #2 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Nick Leddy #2 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Looking for a way to make a cap dump trade, could the New York Islanders send Nick Leddy to the Montreal Canadiens?

Last week, I started a weekly look into what types of trades fans think the New York Islanders can make to improve or create some much-needed space on the cap. That trade involved a five-man deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

This week I wanted to look at a cap dump deal with the Montreal Canadiens.

In this deal, the Islanders would be trading away their most valuable cap-dump asset: Nick Leddy.

The Trade

I found a number of variations on Nick Leddy to the Montreal Canadiens. But the one that kept coming back was Nick Leddy to the Habs for a second-round pick.

The point is, Nick Leddy to the Montreal Canadiens for a 2020 second-round pick is a fairly common trade. So why is this deal made so frequently?

For the New York Islanders:

With a $5.5 million cap hit through the 2021-22 season, Nick Leddy carries the third high cap hit on the team after Anders Lee ($7 million AAV) then Johnny Boychuk and Brock Nelson ($6 million AAV).

Clearing that $5.5 million hit on the salary cap would give the Isles a lot of space to sign RFAs Mathew Barzal, Ryan Pulock, and Devon Toews.

Leddy is also the most valuable option of the Isles possible cap dump nominees. Players like Andrew Ladd, Johnny Boychuk, Leo Komarov, and the aforementioned Nick Leddy. Unlike Ladd, Boychuk, and Komarov, Leddy doesn’t have any trade protection.

Moving Leddy is the Islanders easiest option to clear out cap space via trade even though he’s one of the better puck-moving D in the league (subscription required).

For the Montreal Canadiens: 

The Montreal Canadiens need puck-moving defensemen. Outside of Alex Romanov, who will be making his NHL debut in 2020-21, the habs don’t have someone who can lug the puck out of the D-zone and into the O-zone consistently and as successfully as Nick Leddy can.

Getting Nick Leddy would give the Canadiens an option to lug the puck up the ice and to quarterback their power play that has been bottom tier in the NHL for the past two seasons (13.3% in 18-19 and 17.7% in 19-20).

Moving a second-round pick in 2020 isn’t of much consequence for the Montreal Canadiens who have three second-round picks in this year’s draft.

Who Says No: The New York Islanders (maybe)

For the Montreal Canadiens, it’s hard to see them saying no to this trade. They give away very little but get something very useful in return.

Nick Leddy’s $5.5 million cap hit through 2021-22 isn’t much of an issue either.  The Habs have $18.357 million in cap space for the 2020-21 season.

The Islanders, on the other hand, might hold out for more.

They know they need to make cap space to sign their RFAs. But they also know that Nick Leddy is one of the league’s top puck-moving defensemen. They could probably get more than just second-round pick.

If by October the Islanders still need to be cap compliant Lou might strike this type of deal. Lamoriello won’t settle for that type of return early in the offseason unless the market dries up due to the flat cap.