Detroit Red Wings acquire veteran defenseman Nick Leddy in trade

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Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman on 6th pick: “No sense complaining”

Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman, June 2, 2021.

Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Red Wings have acquired veteran defenseman Nick Leddy, who could serve both as a partner for Moritz Seider and a trade chip at next season’s deadline. But the deal may also cost the Wings a young defenseman in the expansion draft.

In exchange for Leddy, the Wings sent forward Richard Panik and the No. 52 pick in the 2021 draft to the New York Islanders. Panik was a throw-in in April’s Anthony Mantha-Jakub Vrana trade-deadline deal, and the pick was one general manager Steve Yzerman acquired at the 2020 deadline in the Andreas Athanasiou deal with the Edmonton Oilers. Panik had a goal and three assists in 12 games with the Wings, who retained 50% of his salary. Panik is signed through 2022-23.

Leddy, 30, has one year left on his contract with a $5.5 million cap hit. He’s regarded as an offensive defenseman, having recorded 336 career points (65 goals, 271 assists) in 776 games.

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Leddy had 31 points in 56 games this season. Eleven of those came during power plays, which is an area in which the Wings especially have struggled. He was drafted at No. 16 in 2009 by the Minnesota Wild. Leddy could end up being partnered with Seider, the Wings’ promising defense prospect from the 2019 draft. He’s earmarked to join the Wings next season, and he’s been vocal about how much it helped his development in Sweden this past season to be paired with veteran Eric Gelinas. 

And if the Wings are sellers again at the 2022 trade deadline, which they likely will be, Leddy may attract an offer or two. 

The Wings’ list for the Seattle expansion draft is due Saturday. Teams have to make available two forwards who are under contract in 2021-22 and who played in at least 40 games this past season, or 70 the past two seasons. Panik fit those parameters, but the Wings are still OK because Frans Nielsen and Vladislav Namestnikov do as well. 

Unless Yzerman makes another move, the Wings will have to use one of three spots to protect Leddy, which would mean either Dennis Cholowski or Gustav Lindstrom will be exposed, as Filip Hronek is a lock to be protected. 

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from AmazonBarnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.