Blackhawks give defenseman Nick Leddy two-year deal to stay
By Mark Lazerus firstname.lastname@example.org July 3, 2013 9:12PM
Los Angeles Kings v Chicago Blackhawks - Game Five
Updated: August 5, 2013 6:43PM
Nick Leddy played just five shifts in the decisive sixth game of the Stanley Cup Final, largely a bystander for the Blackhawks’ Cup-clinching three-game win streak.
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 Wednesday. Terms of the deal were not announced.
‘‘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,’’ Hawks general manager Stan Bowman said in a statement.
Leddy had six goals and 12 assists with a plus-15 rating during the regular season. But he 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 the Boston Bruins, 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. 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 in a Feb. 12, 2010, trade with the Minnesota Wild. The Hawks sent Cam Barker to the Wild for Kim Johnsson and Leddy, a Minnesota native and first-round pick in 2009.
With Leddy signed, the Hawks have only one restricted free agent left on the NHL roster, center Marcus Kruger. 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 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.
NOTE: Hawks captain Jonathan Toews was named to the NHL’s Second All-Star Team on Wednesday.