Blackhawks News

With Leddy, Comes Versteeg

By Chris Schubert

May 21, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Nick Leddy (8) during game two of the Western Conference Final of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Los Angeles Kings at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Another week, the closer the Hawks are to starting the season over the salary cap. Last week, I talked about how a move was coming “soon”. Well this week shed some light into the matter, giving us some insight as to what the negotiations look like.

Reports earlier this week said that the Hawks are shopping, or at least listening to offers for, Nick Leddy. Leddy is a young defensemen that is attractive to most teams in the league. The issues between Leddy and Coach Q have been expressed in the past, and it seems that Q has it out to staple Leddy to the bench.

With that being the case, Leddy is atop of teams wish lists when the Hawks come calling. When they do make those phone calls, Stan Bowman is making it very clear. If a team wants Nick Leddy, they have to take Kris Versteeg as well.

So any deal the Hawks make involving Nick Leddy will also have the name Kris Versteeg attached. Makes it a little hard to negotiate a trade, but that is what the Hawks are putting on the table and it makes sense.

As mentioned before, Leddy is a young defensemen that has proven before that he can handle most roles on the back-end. The Hawks probably don’t want to part with Leddy, but if that’s what needs to be done for the cap, they want to create the most space possible.

Bowman acquired Leddy as one of his first moves as general manager, so Leddy has been the one piece that has seemed unmovable. A change of heart could be around the corner, begging questions of who really is in charge of the roster: Bowman or Coach Q.

On paper, the Hawks are a better team with Leddy than without him and he has so much more promise that trading him is probably a last resort type of option. But with the speculation growing and Bowman under pressure to get something done before the season starts, he may not have another choice. His hand may be forced, and he can only blame himself.

He signed Michal Rozival to a two-year contract with a no-move clause. He decided to bring back Michael Handzus, and we all saw how that worked out in the playoffs. The icing on the cake had to be the Kris Versteeg trade. Although salary was retained, the Hawks were still on the hook for a big amount of salary for a rental player on a reunion tour.

All of these moves have put Bowman in a corner, where his only way out could be to trade a prized possession. This move is a last resort type of move and Bowman will be looking for any other options to keep Leddy in Chicago. If there’s anybody to trust in these types of situations, with his back against the wall, it’s Stan Bowman.