Nick Leddy, Blackhawks moving on after trade

Nick Leddy celebrates after scoring in the first period of Game 2 vs. the Kings.
Nick Leddy celebrates after scoring in the first period of Game 2 vs. the Kings. (Chris Sweda, Chicago Tribune)

The Blackhawks weren't on the ice Monday as the team chose to use one of the last few days before the start of the season for a team bonding trip that included time on the golf course.

Meanwhile, Nick Leddy skated with his new teammates in New York.


In the aftermath of the trade that sent Leddy to the Islanders over the weekend, both sides are chalking up the move to get the Hawks under the NHL's salary cap as business.

"There were rumors for most of the summer, (and they) kind of kept growing and growing … (but) I didn't really know," Leddy told reporters in New York. "Hockey is a business, and anything can happen. It's a relief that's over, and I'm happy to be here."

The rumors finally ended Saturday when the Hawks sent Leddy to New York for three prospects. While anticipated, the trading of a player who was a regular in the lineup and helped the Hawks win the Stanley Cup in 2013 sent shock waves through the dressing room.

"It sucks to see Nick leave the squad," veteran winger Patrick Sharp said. "Everyone knows the quality player he is and the quality person. He's going to have a heck of a chance to become the star in the league we all think he's going to be. We've said it a thousand times, it's professional sports, it's part of the gig. You lose players every season, and I think we've come to accept it."

For coach Joel Quenneville, it was another departure of a player who helped win a Cup.

"You look at your teammates and great memories, things you'll always share," Quenneville said. "That's part of the game. Nick's still young, and we expect him to grow his game. Hopefully he progresses and becomes a top defenseman. The potential's there, and he's got a better opportunity there."

Line change: When the Hawks acquired center Brad Richards as a free agent during the summer, Quenneville immediately inserted him between Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad on the second line. The trio clicked early and appeared to be set with the season approaching.

During the Hawks' final exhibition game Saturday against the Rangers in New York, Richards stayed in Chicago and Quenneville reunited Andrew Shaw with Kane and Saad, a line that was potent in the playoffs.

During Sunday's practice, Quenneville stuck with the trio, and it could start that way in the season opener Thursday night.

"It was so good last year in a short amount of time and it was right at the end of the year and it was almost like, 'Do I really want to break them up?' " Quenneville said. "It looked like we captured something there. They had a great game in New York the other day, so it looked like they were excited about the chance to get back together."

Richards skated with Bryan Bickell and Kris Versteeg, and Quenneville said the line "looked good."

Blues brothers: Four former Hawks — Colin Fraser, Brent Sopel, Sheldon Brookbank and Steve McCarthy — have been in training camp with the Chicago Wolves, the Blues' AHL affiliate.

One more to go: The Hawks reduced their roster to 24 when they assigned defensemen T.J. Brennan and Ville Pokka to Rockford on Monday. The two players are new to the organization after being acquired in the Leddy trade. The Hawks' active roster stands at 24: 14 forwards, eight defensemen and two goaltenders. Quenneville said Sunday the team would carry 23 players for the opener, including eight defensemen. That means the final cut will come from the forward ranks, and it's likely Brandon Mashinter will be the odd man out. The winger is sidelined with an injury and when cleared will no doubt go to Rockford. Mashinter became expendable when the Hawks signed veteran Daniel Carcillo on Saturday.

Official rosters for the start of the season must be submitted to the NHL by 4 p.m. Tuesday.


Twitter @ChrisKuc

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