Nick Leddy has Quickly Become the Islanders’ Best Defenseman
When the Islanders acquired Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk on October 4th, there were little to no doubts that their presence would be felt along the thin Islanders blueline immediately. Johnny Boychuk started off hot with his big slapshot showing up on the powerplay, and he continues to do that well and be a big force, but Nick Leddy has proven himself to be a true hidden gem from that day. His all around good play on both the offensive and defensive sides have made him a strong nominee for best defenseman on the team. Leddy, 23, is set to be a restricted free agent after this season.
Leddy has been an ironman for his entire career. He has played in every game for the past four seasons, including 36 this year for the Islanders. He is thriving in his new role, much like Boychuk, with powerplay time he never received in Chicago. Leddy is already up to six goals this year, only one behind his career-high in the 2013-2014 season. Last season, Andrew MacDonald and Thomas Hickey lead all Islanders defensemen in goals, with four each. Halfway through the season, Leddy is well ahead of them in that category, and is also a +8, whereas last season Thomas Hickey lead the team in +/- with a +5 rating.
Leddy is doing all this with his new found ice time. He is up from getting 16 minutes a game with Chicago to getting 20 minutes a game this season. His goal totals, previously mentioned are reaping the benefits, as well as his points, which are already up to half of what he had last year. He has turned into a powerplay quarterback for the team, and is using it to his advantage.
Leddy is also a team leader in the advanced stat department. Being consistently on the first defensive pair, he is the unsung hero in taking on other team’s top lines. Even through that, he leads the team in 5v5 even strength FF%, along with many other categories of that nature.
Nick Leddy has quietly become the best Islanders defenseman on the team, although sometimes not given the praise he deserves. He is putting up offensive numbers in bundles, and has also become a defensive advocate when called upon. When looked at, Leddy has been a true workhorse for the Islanders this season. This is not taking away from anything else the other members of his defensive squadron have done, but Leddy has been a main factor in keeping everything in check and will continue to do so for many games to come.