On October 4, 2014, the Islanders franchise would change forever. No, that isn’t hyperbole, the team who had a couple of nice young pieces finally made two moves to make them a legit playoff contender on the same day.
Garth Snow traded for Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk that day and for the next six years, they would be a pair both on the ice and off the ice. They changed the trajectory of this franchise.
Leddy was only 23 at the time, but brought a Stanley Cup pedigree and was instantly thrust into the top pair. He was phenomenal. He put up 10 goals and 37 points playing 20:22 per night (he finished 16th in Norris voting that year).
While the production and stability on the blue line was a welcomed change he also did something that Islanders fans weren’t used to at the time. He bought in.
On February 24, 2015, Leddy extended with the Islanders signing a seven-year $38.5 million contract. In 2021, the narrative of no one wanting to play on the Island is a thing of the past but at the time this was revolutionary.
You have to remember this is on the heels of Thomas Vanek turning down a contract offer to remain put with the Isles. Before anyone else was doing it, even Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy believed in the Islanders.
This is what he said on that day, in 2015:
"“We have something special in this locker room and I’m excited to be a part of it for seven more years,” Leddy said. “From the start of my time here, the Islanders have been a first-class organization. I’m honored by their commitment to me and look forward to challenging for the Stanley Cup for years to come.”"
He never got that Stanley Cup, but the past two years he was about as close as you can get without getting one. In Leddy’s seven years with the Isles he put up 243 points in 518 games played.
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Only Denis Potvin, Stefan Persson, and Tomas Johnsson have more points from the blue line in Islanders history. When he returns to UBS this season, expect a warm welcome. He was a great Islander, and saw the light at the end of the tunnel before most.