Islanders options to replace Nick Leddy: Trade, free agency, internal
Figuring out who’s available on the free agency market is much easier than trying to see who’s out there on the trade market. Just head over to CapFriendly’s free agent page and isolate for the type of player you’re looking for.
For this post, I’m looking for UFA left-shot defensemen and sorted by points-per-game. Here’s what came up: CapFriendly results.
Obviously, I won’t go through all 40 names that came up, but I pulled out three names that make a ton of sense for the Islanders: Alec Martinez, Ryan Suter, and then Mike Reilly.
Alec Martinez is a clear choice for his championship pedigree (two Cups to his name), his production (50 point pace in 20-21), and his impact on the power play (6.93 points per 60). But his transition game isn’t great with 4.32 entries/60 and a 29% carry-in rate. So he’s got two out of three.
And frankly, you can carbon copy that same line for Ryan Suter. He’s got two of the three factors the Islanders should be looking for. He can put up points (maybe not so much last year), he can play the power play well, but his transition game is “meh”. Suter had 6.58 carries/60 and a 26% carry-in rate. And at 36 it’s not about to get much better.
Which leaves Mike Reilly. He’s got the production with 19 points (40 point pace). But that was a career-high by quite some distance. He could be a good power play presence, he had 5.6 points per 60 with Ottawa. But he didn’t do anything on Boston’s power play in 21 minutes over 14 games.
His transition numbers are closer to Leddy’s with 8.52 carries/60 and a 37% carry-in rate with the Sens. That dropped in Boston with 6.62 carries/60 and a 27% carry-in rate.
So what’s the best option here? I’m not quite sure. Reilly is an interesting possibility but there’s a lot of risk there. The better bet might be Alec Martinez. But that might be tough to pull off considering he’s in Vegas who are also “going for it”.