Nick Leddy is a wanted man.
As many as seven teams have expressed interest in trading for the Chicago Blackhawks defenceman, Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos reported Friday.
— Nick Kypreos (@RealKyper) October 3, 2014
— Jamal Mayers (@jamalmayers) October 3, 2014
The Blackhawks, Kypreos tweeted, are seeking a prospect in return for the 23-year-old blueliner. Leddy is entering the final season of a two-year deal that carries a $2.7-million salary cap hit. He is scheduled to be a restricted free agent following the 2014-15 season.
“[Trade rumours] are always in the back of your mind, but I think for me, I just have to focus on my play, making the team better and getting better every game,” Leddy told local reporters on Sept. 20. “Obviously, contract years are big for any player. It would be nice to get a long-term deal, but that’s determined [by] how I play.”
Leddy, along with fellow defencemen Michal Rozsival and Johnny Oduya, have been rumoured to be on the trading block as the Blackhawks try to get under the salary cap ceiling of $69 million. Chicago’s payroll is currently $2.21 million over the cap, according to CapGeek. Teams have until Tuesday at 5 p.m. ET to set their Opening Day rosters, which must be compliant with the cap.
Brad Richards will start the season in Nick Leddy's old spot on the point on the second power-play unit. Hmm. #Blackhawks
— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) September 30, 2014
A Minnesota native who was drafted 16th overall by the Wild in 2009, Leddy has been a staple on the Blackhawks’ back end. He hasn’t missed a single game over the past two seasons and helped the team win the Stanley Cup in 2012-13.
Leddy scored seven goals — a career high — and added 24 assists last season and added another five points in 18 playoff games for Chicago. He averaged 16:22 of ice time, sixth-most among Blackhawks defencemen.
Chicago acquired Leddy’s NHL rights (as well as Kim Johnson) from Minnesota in exchange for Cam Barker in February of 2010.