Veteran defenseman Nick Leddy was one of the few defensive shakeups the Detroit Red Wings made before the start of the 2021-22 season. After a solid defensive showing last season, Detroit has been downright back on defense. Does Leddy shoulder any of this blame?
A few days ago, we examined the stats behind another one Red Wings defenseman, Danny DeKeyser (and the results seemed to prove that he shoulders a fair share of the blame). Let’s do the same with Leddy, and see how his stats shake out on the season.
Before the start of the season, Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman acquired Leddy from the New York Islanders for a second round pick (and Richard Panik). At the time, it seemed clear that Leddy’s role would likely be to mentor Detroit’s rookie defenseman, Moritz Seider.
At the start of the season, the duo were paired together. However, it quickly became clear that Seider was already above the need for a mentor, so head coach Jeff Blashill split the pair apart. For most of the season, Leddy has been paired with Filip Hronek as the second defensive pair. He’s also quarterbacked the second unit of the power play.
However, very recently, there has been another shift in the lineup. Against the Hurricanes, Leddy was reunited with Seider at the top of the defensive lineup.
In 49 games played, Leddy has one goal and 11 assists, which ranks 13th on the roster (third among the team’s defenseman). According to Evolving-Hockey, the veteran defenseman has a -7.2 goals above replacement (-2.8 expected) and a -1.3 wins above replacement (-0.5 expected).
Surprisingly, despite the poor showing in WAR and GAR, Leddy’s possession metrics aren’t too bad. As it stands, he has a Corsi-for relative percentage of 0.5, and a Fenwick-for percentage of -1.1. That’s really not too bad, especially considering how most of the team’s possession metrics are.
Although it isn’t really his fault, Leddy hasn’t really been able to come in and perform the role of mentorship like the team expected. In the meantime, he’s been just okay defensively and not so great on offense (he has not been effective as the second power play quarterback, either). The second round pick spent to secure him seems like a bit much, as it stands. However, that doesn’t matter if Yzerman ships him off at the deadline to recoup some capital. Either way, Leddy doesn’t seem to factor into the future of the Red Wings.