Just a few short months ago, Islanders fans were in a panic about trading Devon Toews. Sure, in a perfect world the Isles would’ve been able to keep their young defenseman, nobody is arguing that. But New York, like many other teams, had to move someone due to the cap staying flat.
Lou Lamoriello received two second-round picks for Toews and was absolutely crushed for it, meanwhile, Vegas moved Nate Schmidt for a 2022 third-round pick and nobody batted an eyelash.
Anyway, the fear was that the team had nobody to step into the role that Toews played as the puck-moving defenseman on the power play. Well, apparently nobody told Nick Leddy that.
In 21 games this year, Leddy has 14 points (1 goal, 13 assists) which paced out over a full 82 game season would give him 55 points. That number would be a career-high by a longshot as his previous career high was 46 points.
Comparatively, Devon Toews has eight points (4 goals, 4 assists) in 15 games out in Colorado playing on the power play with Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Cale Makar. He’s been good for Colorado, as expected, but the Isles really haven’t missed a beat without him and Leddy’s points per game is higher this year.
The Islanders improved power play
Actually, somehow the power play has gotten better. As it stands right now, they are tied for 11th with a 25% power play efficiency ahead of Colorado who is at 13 with a 23.9% power play. They’ve been genuinely great on the man advantage.
For reference, last year the Islanders were effective on 17.3% which ranked them 24th on the man advantage. It’s been a significant, and surprising climb up the ranks so far this year.
Leddy is the leading defenseman in CF% with a 87.7 on the power play, and he has an impressive 91.43 xGF% as well according to Natural Stat Trick.
The improved power play is part of the reason why this team is currently sitting in third and just two points behind the Capitals for the lead in the East division in 2021.
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Specifically, over the last 10, Leddy has been impressive. He has nine assists over that span. After back-to-back down years offensively, it’s been great having him put up points. Barry Trotz believed in him, and Leddy to his credit stepped up to the challenge.