In the very near future, the Chicago Blackhawks are going to have a decision to make in regard to their youngest defenseman, Nick Leddy.
In the two years we’ve seen Leddy in Chicago, he’s shown plenty of promise. His offensive skill from the blue line and puck moving ability have elite potential. There’s no doubt that Leddy was thrown into an increased role, as the team’s no. 3 defenseman, much too early though. The need for more time in Rockford exposed his shortcomings this year as an actual defender.
Regardless of that last fact, the Hawks’ front office loves Leddy, as evident by their rushing him. But that won’t make this next decision any easier. Leddy is a restricted free agent next summer. That means the Blackhawks can match any offer, but the problem is that as an offensive defenseman (and a young one), Leddy is going to make a very large amount of money.
Would the Hawks want to open their wallets to sign Leddy, who is still somewhat unproven? Don’t forget, Adam Clendening isn’t far off, and he may actually project to be better than Nick Leddy in the long term.
If that’s the case, though, and the Hawks plan to make Leddy a part of this “core” group, they should move sooner, rather than later. Waiting until next summer could help the team to determine if they actually do want to keep him around, but a breakout year from Leddy would cost the Blackhawks a huge chunk of change.
There’s also the trade route. The Hawks could take advantage of Leddy’s value and upgrade at center, while potentially slipping Johnny Oduya into a role as that offensive guy until Clendening is ready. If they are able to get a deal that fills a big need, like center, and get a team to overpay, that’s something that needs to be explored.
Whatever the Blackhawks decide to do with Nick Leddy, they should act this summer. Signing him now would likely save a few bucks, while dealing him would likely help to fill a position of need heading into the new season.
Do you think the Hawks should extend Nick Leddy, trade him this summer, or wait until he’s a free agent in the next offseason?