They have a replacement in mind
Again, assuming Leddy leaves via trade that opens a spot in the top four. That’s a big gap for the Islanders that rely on a strong defensive core to win games. Losing Leddy weakens that core.
Which is a problem because the Isles don’t have a guy that can easily step into Nick Leddy’s role right away. Say what you will about Robin Salo’s potential, it’s tough to say he can step into a Barry Trotz system and replace Nick Leddy. It’s possible but unlikely.
Again, Lou and the Islanders obviously know this. They aren’t moving Leddy without knowing there’s cover for him in the top four.
Who that is is anyone guess of course, but could Lou go after both Ryan Suter and for Zach Parise who were bought out by the Minnesota Wild today? Why not? Zach Parise has that obvious link to the Isles after being drafted by Lou in 2003 and that Lou tried to bring him in before the 2019-20 season.
Sure Suter is aging at 36-years-old, but he’s still a solid player that could fit in as a veteran player on a cheap deal. Can he be a good role model for young Noah Dobson? Absolutely he can. Ask Jared Spurgeon and Matt Dumba about his impact on their individual games.
Lou Lamoriello is the type of GM to be well aware of these moves ahead of time. He’s also the type of GM to bring in veteran leadership like Parise and Suter.
Outside of Suter, there are a few guys out there that he could target, specifically on the free-agent market. Here are a few options that I looked at previously.
Of course, if the Isles bring in any before expansion they’ll have to protect them so such a move certainly happens after the expansion roster freeze. But the point remains that the Islanders know they can find cover for Leddy in the event they find a new home for him.