The Blues have made their move to shore up the defense, and it was not what anyone probably expected.
The Blues have acquired 31 year old defenseman Nick Leddy from the Detroit Red Wings, along with defenseman Luke Witkowski, for Jake Walman, Oskar Sundqvist, and a second round pick in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft.
Oskar Sundqvist, who has been struggling since returning from injury, has been spending time on the fourth line. Detroit should be happy with the fact that Sunqvist will be able to slot in further up the lineup - and their last trade with the Blues was for Robby Fabbri. Why not trade for another Blues’ forward? Fabbri has been successful since finding his role in Detroit and having Sundqvist there too should help the Red Wings’ rebuild.
Losing Jake Walman and gaining Luke Witkowski isn’t exactly a lateral move. Walman has rooted himself in the 7th defenseman position for the Blues, while Witkowski, a former 2008 draft pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning, is currently with the Grand Rapids Griffins. He’s played in one game with the Red Wings this season on March 12th, getting 9:18 of ice time.
The key part of the deal is clearly Nick Leddy. The veteran defenseman, who has been with the Red Wings since the start of the season, was a fixture on the New York Islanders’ blue line. In 55 GP this season, Leddy has one goal and 15 assists, but he is not coming to the Blues for his offensive prowess. The Blues are working him into their cap situation thanks to the dealing of Sundqvist as well as the fact that the Red Wings have agreed to hold on to half of Leddy’s $5.5 million salary. Leddy’s in his final year of a seven year deal worth $5.5 million per. Whether the Blues will sign him to an extension or not remains to be seen.
Leddy’s spent time with several of St. Louis’ rivals. Before arriving in Long Island, Leddy won a Cup with the Blackhawks in 2013, and was a first round draft pick of the Minnesota Wild, 16th overall, in 2009.
What this means for the Blues defense is interesting, but it does more than likely mean that Scandella’s being bumped further down the depth chart. As of this writing, Scandella’s contract is still on the Blues’ books.