May 18, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Nick Leddy (8) skates with the puck against the Los Angeles Kings during game one of the Western Conference Final of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Nick Leddy’s name has been in trade talks nearly all summer. The Blackhawks need to get under the salary cap, which they are currently exceeding by $2.2 million. Trading Leddy would get them under the cap, and bring a decent return through picks and/or cheap prospects. Yesterday on TSN’s Insider Trading segment, Bob Mckenzie mentioned that the Blackhawks front office is telling other teams that Nick Leddy is available, but if they want him, they will need to take Kris Versteeg as well.
Mckenzie did not say much else on the matter, but it is a very interesting development. Versteeg lost the hearts of many Hawks fans after a rough 2013-14 season in which he was coming off of a leg injury. He was reacquired by the Hawks from the Florida Panthers last season. Nick Leddy is one of the Hawks most promising young defensemen. He was acquired from the Minnesota Wild in 2010.
As disappointed as some fans would be if Leddy left, some would be jumping in the streets at the departure of Versteeg, although he has looked really good in training camp. Joel Quenneville even mentioned that he looks a lot more healthy, and sure on his skates than last year.
Nick Leddy’s cap hit comes in at $2.7 million, and he will be a restricted free agent after the 2014-15 season. When Versteeg was traded from Florida, the Panther’s retained half of his salary, so his hit comes in at $2.2 million for the Hawks with two years remaining. Erasing both of those contracts would put the Hawks at roughly $2.7 million under the cap, which gives some flexibility within the organization, and also could allow Chicago to get a better return for Leddy.
Hawks GM Stan Bowman mentioned during the Hawks preseason game tonight, that he still has a couple of weeks to get the team under the cap, so he is not looking to make a move right away. If there is truth to this rumor, more information should become available in the next week or so.
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