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Blackhawks, Leddy agree to new contract
Nick Leddy played just five shifts in the decisive sixth game of the Stanley Cup Final, largely a bystander for the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup-clinching three-game win streak to close out the playoffs.
But the Hawks hope the speedy, 22-year-old defenseman will have plenty more chances to prove his playoff worth down the road.
The Hawks re-signed Leddy, a restricted free agent, to a two-year contract worth $5.4 million on Wednesday.
“We are pleased to announce that Nick will remain a core member of our organization,” Hawks general manager Stan Bowman said in a statement. “Over the course of the past three seasons, Nick has shown continuous development and we think he will be essential to our long-term success.”
Leddy had six goals and 12 assists, with a plus-15 rating, during the regular season. The skilled, puck-moving blue-liner played well while playing with the platooning pair of Michal Rozsival and Sheldon Brookbank. But Leddy began to struggle as the playoff pace picked up. He finished with just two assists and a minus-8 rating in the playoffs, playing just 2:37 in Game 4 against Boston, 6:53 in Game 5, and 3:25 in Game 6.
“Nick’s still on the upside of his career, and he’s still at a young age, getting better with time,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “You learn different situations, you learn players, you learn your own assets, which make you a better player. I think we ended it on a real positive note winning the championship. Nick’s situation — be excited about where you’re going to be at going forward, and look to keep getting better.”
Leddy has 13 goals and 49 assists in 176 regular-season games with the Hawks since being acquired — stolen, if you ask the people of Minnesota — in a Feb. 12, 2010 trade with the Wild. The Hawks sent Cam Barker to the Wild for Kim Johnsson and Leddy, a Minnesota native and first-round pick in 2009.
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to remain in Chicago and be a part of this special group of young, experienced players on a team in a winning environment,” Leddy said via the team statement. “The organization is first class, both on and off the ice, and I am honored to be a member of the Chicago Blackhawks.”
With Leddy signed, the Hawks only have one restricted free agent left on the NHL roster, center Marcus Kruger. Bowman said on Sunday that the Hawks “certainly’ would sign both Leddy and Kruger, and Kruger’s agent, J.P. Barry, said Tuesday that the two sides were trying to work out a two-year contract.
Unrestricted free agents were allowed to talk with other teams beginning Wednesday, but can’t sign with new teams until Friday. Among the Hawks’ UFAs are backup goalie Ray Emery (Barry also represents Emery, and began talks with the Hawks on Tuesday), defenseman Michal Rozsival, center Michal Handzus, forward Jamal Mayers and winger Viktor Stalberg. Stalberg is likely to test the market and is expected to sign elsewhere.
Bowman said the Hawks are unlikely to make any big free-agent signings.