New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy showed up when his fellow teammates didn’t.
Just like most Islanders fans, I love to hate on general manager Garth Snow, but I’ll give him credit where credit is due.
Trading for and eventually locking up Nick Leddy was hands down the most brilliant move Snow has made since taking the reins of general manager. The 2016-17 season was another year of progression for the defenseman, as he continues to ascend the blueliner rankings.
In a season where the defense was up and down, Leddy always showed up to play. He did come out of the gate a little slow, but picked it up for the rest of the season. As a result, he posted career highs across the stat sheet, notching 11 goals and 46 points and tying a career-high with 35 assists.
— YeSUV? (@IslesWhiteSUV) February 12, 2017
Even though the power play was absolutely horrendous this season, Leddy did help provide some spark for it. Three of his eleven goals came on the man advantage, while his gracious skating was a tremendous asset. It’s always fun watching him skate coast to coast with puck.
The defensive pairing of Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy has been the best in recent memory. Side-by-side, the vet and the yougster have been outstanding together, which is fitting since they both came to the organization on the same day. Although Boychuk had his fair share of struggles this season, Leddy constantly covered for him.
If there’s one play that does dampens Leddy’s season, it’s this: In the first game of a home-and-home against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on February 18, the Isles trailed 3-0 halfway through the third period before Andrew Ladd and Anthony Beauvilier scored twice in a short span to make it a 3-2 game.
With a little over two minutes left in the game, the Islanders went to the powerplay with a chance to tie it up and salvage a huge point in the standings. With 20 seconds left on the man advantage, Anders Lee fed a cross ice pass to a cutting Nick Leddy who had a wide open net. Unfortunately, Leddy rang it off the left pipe and the Islanders went on to lose 3-2.
As has been widely reported, the Islanders fell one point short of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season. When they were officially eliminated, my initial reaction was, “Dang, if Leddy just didn’t hit that post…”
Of course, there are numerous reasons why the Islanders missed the playoffs (with the brunt of the blame falling on Doug Weight and Jack Capuano), but I always came back to thinking of this play in the middle of February, when the playoff race wasn’t even heating up yet. It’s yet another example of how important every shift is in the course of a season.
But that image shouldn’t change my view of the 26-year-old defenseman. As many have acknowledged, if Leddy continues to grow as a player, he will be on the right track to becoming a potential Norris Trophy candidate in the near future.