NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Phoenix Coyotes at Chicago Blackhawks

Exit Interviews: Nick Leddy and Johnny Oduya

Let’s go for a twofer today, and ramp up the importance. It’s one thing to go through your bottom pairing platoon, who in the end you’d rather just not notice. But these guys matter, and may matter in other ways this offseason. So let’s do it.

Nick Leddy

Regular Season: 82 games, 7 goals, 24 assists, 31 points, +10, -0.02 Behind The Net, 14.86 Corsi/60 (+3.4 Corsi Relative/60)

Playoffs: 18 games, 1 goal, 4 assists, 5 points, -3, -1.66 Behind The Net, 3.39 Corsi/60 (+8.3 Corsi Relative/60)

What We Liked: It’s a well known fact at this point that me and Jen LC have a huge Leddy crush. Those numbers in the regular season came with three rotating partners (rotating pies!) all season. Though they also came with pretty heavily tilted zone starts, as Leds started 63% of his shifts in the offensive zone. But for most of the year, Leddy was a possession driver, a one-man trap-buster who really started to feel his oats in the middle of the year by pushing with his wheels up the ice. Outside of Kane doing Kane things, there are few more exciting moments watching the Hawks than when Leddy kicks it into gear through the zone. His four power play goals were more than Keith’s, even though Leddy ran the second unit and got less time despite being the superior PP QB. Oh, and that goal in Game 2 against LA… it portends to so much.

What We Didn’t Like: Except it won’t portend to that much if Leddy doesn’t push it as regularly as he needs to. While he got more blame in the playoffs than he probably deserved, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t ugly at times. In big moments, Leddy still tends to shrink from them. He needs to play assertive and confident, borderline cocky, but he can still be tentative. And it’s probably too easy of an out to blame it on rotating and inconsistent partners alone. You’d figure most teams would kill for 31 points from a bottom pairing defensemen, and yet you can’t help but feel Leddy is capable of more. With his hands and accurate shot, does seven goals seem like enough? You feel he could crack double digits from the back, and probably should. Leddy doesn’t need to turn into Keith, but he’s never going to shake the comparison to Brian Campbell as those are the keys he was given. Campbell eventually grew into a very dependable d-man, and his mistakes were always one of over-aggressiveness. That’s what I’d rather out of Leddy. I don’t mind fuck-ups, as long as they’re in the name of trying to make something happen because that’s the type of player he is.

What Is It, You Would Say, You Do Here: Next year is obviously huge for Driver 8. While there have been some whispers that he could be had in a trade, I’d be utterly shocked if Stan is going to move his very first acquisition. This is the last year of his bridge deal coming up, and because of what might happen to a d-man ahead of him on the depth chart, he’s going to get second pairing time, you’d have to believe. Which means more responsibility but more time with the big boy forwards. He may even get the keys to the 1st PP unit if there’s any interest in conserving Keith’s minutes. But he simply has to show the belief that he can take games by the neck and control them. I still think it’s in there, and there are flashes of it. It’s hard to believe Leddy is still only 23 and there’s plenty of time for growth. It took Campbell two full seasons in the NHL, and three in the AHL, before he became what he became. Leddy has only gotten about two half-seasons in the A, and just finished his second full season in the NHL with a season-in-a-can to boot. Next year, the time will be now. I think he comes good, but there’s a valid argument that he won’t.

Johnny Oduya

Regular Season: 77 games, 3 goals, 13 assists, 16 points, +11, -o.o6 Behind The Net, 6.23 Corsi/60 (-9.9 Corsi Relative/60)

Playoffs: 19 games, 2 goals, 5 assists, 7 points, -1, 0.0 Behind the Net, -5.60 Corsi/60 (-5.3 Corsi Relative/60)

What We Liked: While he didn’t hit the heights of last year, you couldn’t ask for much more of a solid effort than the Hawks got from Bangkok Dangerous for most of the year. It looks even more solid when you consider he and Hammer got the worst zone starts on the team while also facing the hardest competition. That’s a big reason their possession numbers are off, because it’s hard to have the puck more when you’re facing the other team’s best. Oduya doesn’t do anything spectacularly, but he doesn’t do anything badly either. Even with all those obstacles, Oduya had the lowest goals-against per 60 minutes on-ice on the team’s blue line.

What We Didn’t Like: It’s not really his fault, but the toll of a full season and a full run in the Olympics eventually caught up to O.D. The Blues series saw a return to 2012 playoff form, where he was a turnover machine. Things didn’t improve much in the second round, and eventually Oduya was rotated to play with Rozsival in the third round. He looked a half-step slower, which is a problem for a d-man whose feet are one of his strengths. When that’s combined with his turnovers, Oduya can’t really transition the play up the ice, which he did last year. The Hawks need that drive from the back, and when they don’t get it their possession ways kind of collapse.

What Is It, You Would Say, You Do Here: With Oduya, the emphasis is on “exit” in “exit interview.” Because he’s the most likely to go in the offseason. If there’s one thing that Stan has shown is that he’s loathe to let anyone walk for nothing, even if it only results in gobbling up more draft picks. Frolik was dealt a year early (Hawks could have used him this year). So was Bolland. Even players who wouldn’t contribute long term are moved for what can be harvested, such as Carcillo or Scott or whatever else. While Oduya would earn a reprieve if a bigger name is dealt to open up cap space, there still has to be room made for Stephen Johns and Rundblad. Rozsival isn’t likely going anywhere, and O.D. is on the wrong side of 30. The lack of sharpness that came into focus as the year went on is probably not going away. He could still get you a 2nd rounder and more at least, and the Hawks don’t have a 2nd round pick for this draft at the moment. It’s simple math.

 

  • Yachtsman

    Leddy really is a hard one to figure out. He shows flashes of greatness, but then makes a youthful mistake and then finds his ice time cut. He looked at times as playing not to screw up, which limited his development. So is that he’s that wildly inconsistent by nature or is it that his inconsistency is the result of playing in fear of Q’s quick hook?
    He might be one who could benefit by hiring a consultant the way Kane has, one who analyzes his game and offers technical advice. There just appears to be so much of a high celing with this guy, that it’s a shame that his progress seems to be stunted somehow.
    With Oduya, he seemed awfully skittish very often. Was it physical or mental with this guy too?

    • raditzzzz

      couple of things you alluded to make leddy’s situation interesting.

      im surprised sam didn’t make mention of Q’s management of leddy. there were obvious moments where leddy’s play was affected by knowing that any mistake he made would be paid with bench riding. that is a tough pill for a defenseman who is not stay at home, but built for speed and risk. get a guy second guessing, and he’s screwed. being tied at the hip to rozy or brookbank doesn’t help, seeing as how he is capped a bit from using his potential for having to keep in mind any potential mistakes they might make as well.

      i think leddy needs a bigger stay at home type partner ala seabrook, who can be trusted to help pick up the slack from any risks he may take, and im just not sure if hammer is the right guy for that job. johns or dahlbeck paired with leddy to grow together as a pair (like keith and seabs did) sound like a good idea to me, with whoever sticks around between rozy and brookbank making up the 7th d-man. the question then becomes who do you pair hammer with?

      • Yachtsman

        Whatever happens next year, Hjalmarsson should be put back on the left d, where he might be able to get some good shots on goal from the point, rather than that backhand paddling he is forced into from the right side. That drives me nucking futs.

  • guesthouse

    Am I alone thinking Johns is a long-shot to make the Hawks in 14-15?

    • MySpoonIsTooBig

      I don’t think you’re alone. Everything I’ve read indicates that Johns has the potential to be a very good NHL defensemen but he and the organization would be best served by his honing his skills and learning how to play the professional game with (at least) a full season in the AHL instead of jumping straight to the NHL after his brief stint with the Piggies this spring once his NCAA season ended.

  • Oldfarthawkfan

    I think Leddy might be gone also for the right price. Depends on what the Toews/Kane extensions cost. You have Clendening also down in RockVegas, who has nothing more to prove there and would be cheaper than Leddy who I think is an RFA this year

  • 334Rules

    As for Leddy, getting rid of a 23 y/o D-man that has so much upside already in his game seems pretty high on the short-sighted scale, unless somebody is going to just hand us the 2C we crave (and even then, isn’t that the door being held open for Tivo Turnitonagain?).

    We talk constantly here about the fact that D-men don’t really mature until they’re 27 or so. Leddy’s biggest problem – as noted – is confidence. But considering that Q staples his ass to the bench for the same mistakes Seabs makes 3x a game, I don’t think that’s a big surprise. I’d love to see him skate regular minutes with Super Nintendo, who can pretty much cover for the defensive mistakes of an entire team on his good nights, and just let it loose offensively.

    • Oldfarthawkfan

      Leddy is redundant with who else we have in the system for offensive defenseman: re; Clendening, Rundblad, Fournier and Keith is not going anywhere for years. And physical defenseman they have Dahlbeck and Johns, and about 3 other defenseman with good pro prospects playing in college. Defenseman is a strength of the team. He makes $2.7 mil cap hit next year then is RFA. Has potential but so do the others above. Send him out for what we need, bigger forwards and/or some goaltending depth

      • lizmcneill

        Key words: in the system. None of those guys have shown they’re even a 5th dman in the NHL yet.

        • Oldfarthawkfan

          Clendening has been in Rockford for 2 years and made the AHL all star team. Everyone bitches that Q didn’t give Pirri or Morin a chance, Clendening has shown in the AHL he is ready just as much as Pirri and Morin has. I love this team too, but it needs to get better, and sometimes you have to give up something to get something. Under your reasoning, we have to keep Oduya, because Leddy hasn’t proved he is ready to be a top 4 defenseman, and he is getting way too much money to be paid as a 5th defenseman.

          • birdhead

            I went back and looked at minutes a while ago, and Leddy was a successful fourth defenseman for the Hawks before they acquired Oduya. He’s done it before.

          • birdhead

            (the difference between Oduya versus Leddy and Leddy vs Clendening, btw, is that Oduya is 32.)

  • wowwowweewoo

    I just have to add that I don’t believe Leddy’s ceiling is as high as what other’s think. He can skate, and he’s getting stronger in his defensive positioning and stick-work. He’s also a real solid PP quarterback – definitely the best the Hawks have at the moment IMO. He still lacks two things that I personally don’t think one can develop though, and these things make all the difference between a good and an elite talent. He has no patience or high-end natural feel for the flow of a game. He just doesn’t see where pressure WILL come from, and he doesn’t anticipate where his outs are. Second, he just doesn’t have that much finish (barring that backhand on quick, which may have just been the shot of his life). I can literally only recall one goal in 4 years of play that’s resulted from his rushing the puck up the ice, and that was the backhand on quick… These two things, I think you either have it or you don’t. I say give him another year and see if he plays out of his goard for a big signing, then let someone else pay him for his over-deliverance.

  • TitanTransistor

    I have a soft spot for Oduya. Objectively, I agree there are some problems with his game, especially under a heavy forecheck. But I was happy to see him turn from Winnipeg cast-off to Stanley Cup winner and Olympic Silver Medalist within a couple years of donning the Indian Head.

    As for Leddy…. I don’t see the ‘it’ factor that some other people do. I just don’t think his ceiling is that high based on how he’s performed thus far. If Leddy can’t break the top 4 D and stay there next year, then I have no problem dealing him, because he’s going to ask for more than a 3rd pair guy deserves.

    • ToucanStubbs

      I would almost say he’s too good for a bottom pair but not good enough for top 4. Being in a sort of limbo, that gives him 1 more year to demonstrate he is ready for more. If not, then he’s prime trade bait for a team clamoring for defense. Islanders would probably like the kid.

    • guest

      During the streak it was also pointed out that the Hawks’ record since acquiring Oduya was something along the lines of 30-and-single-digits. Of course, some of those digits were the Disaster in the Desert (in which he fared particularly poorly), but still. To me, Oduya was “the last piece” that punted the limping cup hangover team we had into the renewed wrecking ball contender that we have.

      There’s no room for that kind of sentimentality in business and he’s probably on the way out. He’ll always have a place in my heart, though.

    • raditzzzz

      odyua is just straight up solid. if we punt him, we are for sure weaker on the blue line. im not against it, because his stock couldn’t get any higher than it is right now, and if stan can get an excellent return im all for it. i just wonder if he and q can get on the same page about letting up and comers grow into roles, or, if that isn’t working out to play the free agent market to find a replacement.

  • Bob Lanz

    I would love it it if both OD and rosy were traded. Why because it’s time to see what dahlbach and clendening can do as well as Leddy with hammer. Plus John will be pushing for a spot next season as well. Time to see what the draft picks can do!

    • Oldfarthawkfan

      Rosy will not be traded. With not signing Brookbank, Q and Stanbo would want one veteran as their 6th or 7th defenseman. If Oduya is traded and Leddy is kept as #4, (who I think they should trade) that would mean either Rundlad, Clendening or Dahlbeck as #5, Too much youth back there for Q’s taste

  • Bannerman

    I think people are getting too caught up in what Leddy hasn’t done and are failing to see what he can do. Leddy has gotten better each year. If that trend continues, many of these problems will have been solved.

    Leddy provides offense from the D position which is what Q craves ( a lot of people think it’s electrolytes but that’s plants).

    I’m curious to see if Leddy to the 2nd pair means Seabrook to the 2nd pair and the end of Marlboro 72. Nick at Nite was cringe worthy at times. Granted Hjammer and Leddy have both gotten better since then but I’d bet Q would like the lock down pairing that Keith & Hjammer would provide. Wasn’t Clendenning Leddy’s partner at the Rock last season? maybe they move Rozsy/ Rundblad/ ? to the 2nd with Seabs and have Leddy continue to develop on the 3rd.

    • cliffkoroll

      Leddy’s best year was 2011-12.

  • SAMCRO Outlaw

    After the Hawks got knocked out of the playoffs, my first thought was that the Hawks would be opening a spot for Johns, but after thinking about it I’d be really surprised if they do. Q doesn’t like inexperienced players, but really seems to not like young d-men (Olsen, Stanton). Those two strikes against Johns lead me to believe he’s going to get a full year in the A before Q will see if he can “trust” him. I know we’ve all seen the hits he can lay and salivate at the thought of him putting Backes into wakey wakey land, but can anyone actually say they know for sure he has NHL foot speed yet?

    I’m more inclined to believe that Dahlbeck is the guy that gets first shot at the NHL. I think his size wins out over Clendenning getting onto the roster. I’m pretty intrigued as to what Dahlbeck can be after seeing him add a nice offensive piece to his game this year.

  • wihawkfan

    i thought i heard somewhere (immediately following the end of the hawk’s season) that oduya was injured and wouldn’t have played in the finals at all if they made it. his injury was supposedly that bad.

    i don’t know where i heard it and i can’t find the confirmation yet. sorry.

    but that would explain his performance.

    if true, how does it change stan’s view about him as a possible move?

  • The Manager

    I agree with many here that Leddy is a tough nut to crack. Sometimes he shows flashes of being a top 4 d-man and other times he’s just outright bad. Personally I think he’s a 5th d-man on a good team and him jumping into the top 4 next year scares the hell out of me. I won’t be surprised if he’s dealt this offseason and frankly I’m kind of expecting it. Many have said the money is on Oduya to be dealt but I think SB deals Leddy instead.

  • merkinmuffy

    Forgive this little sidebar here, but I have a question: Why are there so many left handed shots in hockey these days? Back about 40 years ago, left-handers had about a 55-45 advantage on right-handers. Today, it’s about 75-25. What effect does this have on the game when so many players are shooting from the off wing?

    • birdhead

      I was going to say that it might be the presence of fewer Canadians but I looked it up and it’s actually Canadians who shoot mostly (~60%) left and Americans who shoot mostly (~60%) right. Maybe European players also shoot mostly left?

      • merkinmuffy

        I just wonder what effect this phenomenon has on the game. I was watching game 5 of the finals and I saw a Ranger player try to make a shot from the right side, but he had to stop and adjust to a left-handed shot. This gave a Kings’ player time to block an open shot. If the Rangers had a right-handed shot over there, they probably would have had a goal.