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Islanders options to replace Nick Leddy: Trade, free agency, internal

Nick Leddy #2 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Nick Leddy #2 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Vince Dunn #29 of the St. Louis Blues. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Vince Dunn #29 of the St. Louis Blues. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Trade Market

Looking over the latest gossip from around the NHL here are few left-handed defensemen that stand out who could step in to fill Nick Leddy’s spot on the second line:

  • Nate Schmidt
  • Vince Dunn
  • Oliver Ekman-Larsson

So remember the three requirements are: good transition game, plays on the power play, and puts up points. All three of these guys meet those requirements. Some are better than others of course.

Starting with Nate Schmidt. He checks all the boxes. He carries the puck, but I wouldn’t say his transition game is “good”. He’s certainly not as effective as Nick Leddy is. Schmidt had 6.04 carries/60 with a 46% carry-in rate while Leddy had 10.25 carries/60 and 55% carry-in rate.

Even if those numbers were good enough, Schmidt’s $5.95 million cap hit seems too rich for the Islanders to add right now.

Which is the same argument against Oliver Ekman-Larsson. There’s no doubt that OEL meets the three criteria set out from the start, but that $8.25 million cap hit through 2026-27 is far too high for the Islanders to contemplate adding without serious retention on the part of the Coyotes.

That leaves Vince Dunn. The St Louis Blues defenseman seems like the perfect fit to replace Leddy. He carries the puck a lot (the only STL blueliner to have 50+% carry-in rate) with 7.07 carries/60.

Dunn’s 20 points in 43 games had him on pace for a 38 point year (Leddy was on pace for 45). He was averaging 1:39 on the power play with 5.91 points per 60. Leddy averaged 2:13 on the power player (way up from 19-20 where he averaged 1:13 off PP time) with 5.31 points per 60.

Dunn is due a raise from his $1.875 AAV last year but it’s not expected to sit near the $5.5 million that Leddy had.

When looking at the trade market, Vince Dunn is the easy choice. But will Dunn still be available? He wasn’t protected by St Louis and could be picked in the expansion draft.

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