It has happened. The New York Islanders traded Nick Leddy. On Friday at around 8 PM eastern time Lou Lamoriello sent the veteran defenseman to the Detroit Red Wings. In return, the Isles received forward Richard Panik and a 2021 second-round pick.
The Red Wings retained 50% of Panik’s cap hit in the trade. Panik’s AAV was $2.75 million before coming to the Isles. Meaning Panik will carry a $1.375 million cap hit over the next two years of his deal.
New York Islanders trade Nick Leddy to Detroit Red Wings
The trade means the Isles have now cleared $4.125 million in cap space. Which was the prime goal of the trade. Clearing cap space with this trade, Lou Lamoriello now has $8.545 million without the Johnny Boychuk LTIR contract.
With Panik, the Isles get a left-shot winger whos a former 44 point player a few years back with the Chicago Blackhawks. Although who knows if he’ll actually stay around or not.
With the expansion draft upcoming it’s easy to think that Panik will be exposed to Seattle. And with that newly reduced contract, Panik is certainly an appealing target for them to pick for their bottom six.
With Nick Leddy gone the Islanders have now moved two puck-moving defensemen in back-to-back years with no direct replacement in the system.
But the Isles got the return they wanted. A player and a second-round pick in 2021. It’s the 52nd overall pick.
It’s important to remember in all of this that while it’s a good thing Nick Leddy’s contract is gone Leddy has been a valuable player since he arrived alongside Johnny Boychuk in 2014. The duo instantly gave the Isles a true top pair for the first time in years. He’s been a big part of the team’s blue line ever since with 243 points in 518 games. Seeing him leave is a little bittersweet. Good luck Leddy. And thanks for the last seven years and for the pick and Panik.
Now the Isles have to sign a defenseman who’s played at least 27 NHL games last year (or 54 over the last two) or else they have to expose Ryan Pulock or Scott Mayfield in the expansion draft. So Lou’s work isn’t over yet.