The expansion draft. On July 17, the Islanders have to submit their protected list to the NHL and NHLPA. And as you’re probably well aware of by now, Nick Leddy isn’t going to be protected.
As things stand now, the Islanders must expose one defenseman with at least 40 NHL games who is signed through 21-22. At the time of writing, the Islanders only have three defensemen signed to deals for 21-22 and meet that games played requirement: Ryan Pulock, Scott Mayfield, and Nick Leddy.
(Remember Noah Dobson is excluded for only having two years of professional experience.)
Both Pulock and Mayfield will be protected which means Leddy has to be exposed. That means any team interested in acquiring Leddy knows that Lou Lamoriello must get a trade done before July 17 or else the two-time GM of the Year will likey lose Leddy for free.
So not only does Lou Lamoriello need to trade Nick Leddy to allow him to keep his core intact but if he wants to get something in return for shedding Leddy’s contract he potentially only has days to do so.
And that plummets the return for Leddy.
Again, not only are there other cheaper left-shot offensive-defenseman out on the market now, but Lou has hours to get a return. And every single GM knows this. Whatever you (or I) think the return for Nick Leddy is going to be, it’s decreasing by the hour as Lou becomes more and more desperate to get something for Leddy.