Nick Leddy, former defenseman of the Minnesota Golden Gophers, signed a three-year deal worth $2,700,000 with the Blackhawks this afternoon. The exact details of the contract have yet to be released, but Leddy will be on the books with a cap hit of $900,000 each year. Once he signed the dotted line his collegiate career over, but he still has junior level (CHL) eligibility. Leddy is leaving the University of Minnesota after one year in the program. He had 3 goals and 8 assists in 30 matches in 2009-10. Leddy did suffer a broken jaw that kept him sidelined for nine games.
There were murmurs that Leddy was in talks with Stan Bowman and company regarding an entry-level deal. I chalked it up to nothing more than message board gossip, and quickly forget about the rumor. It made little sense to me then. He wasn’t all that impressive in his freshman year as a Golden Gopher. The Minnesota Wild’s opinion of their 2009 first round (16 overall) draft pick soured as a result, and the Blackhawks were able to acquire Leddy in the Cam Barker for Kim Johnsson deal.
The Blackhawks came to a different conclusion then the Wild. The problem wasn’t Leddy. It was the Gophers’ hockey program. According to Gopher Puck Live, the reason for Leddy’s lack of production last season was because the 2009-10 squad was “one of the worst goal-scoring Gopher teams in history.” Under Don Lucia the once rich hockey program regressed. They haven’t been to the post-season in two seasons.
It sounds as though the Blackhawks are saving the top prospect from a bad situation by signing Nick Leddy to an entry-level deal, and Bowman can justify because of his performance at prospect camp. I liked what I saw from Leddy at the camp, but don’t think he needs to be rushed to the AHL at this point. The 19-year-old Leddy could use more seasoning elsewhere, and add more bulk to his 5’11” 179lbs. frame.
A few things that must be said about the signing of Nick Leddy is that 1) this doesn’t mean Brian Campbell will be traded, 2) he won’t be in competition for a roster spot out of training camp, and 3) he’s still eligible to play in the CHL. So get those dirty little thoughts out of your mind.
IceHogs ink Palmer and Leblanc
The Rockford IceHogs signed Joe Palmer and Peter Lablanc to AHL/ECHL contracts. Palmer and Leblanc were in attendance at the Blackhawks’ prospect camp earlier in this month, but were rather unimpressive. Because they signed deals with the IceHogs they’re technically not in the Blackhawks’ system any longer, thus they are stricken from the ‘In the Organization’ page.