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Nick Leddy looks forward to veteran leadership opportunity in Detroit

New Red Wings defenseman acquired via trade on Friday brings experience and winning mentality to new club

by Josh Berenter @DetroitRedWings /

DETROIT -- In the last two seasons, Nick Leddy has helped transform the New York Islanders back into championship contenders with back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals appearances.

And now, after being traded to the Detroit Red Wings on Friday for forward Richard Panik and a 2021 second-round draft pick, the 30-year-old defenseman is looking to help his new club return to prominence the same way he did in New York.

"I've been fortunate enough to be with some winning cultures and I really want to bring that to the Red Wings," Leddy said Sunday during his introductory virtual press conference. "Their history speaks for itself with all the Cups. At the end of the day, winning is everything and I'm just excited for the opportunity."

The blueliner was originally the 16th overall pick of the Minnesota Wild in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. In February 2010, Minnesota traded Leddy to the Chicago Blackhawks, and he made his NHL debut for the Blackhawks on October 7, 2010.

The defenseman played four seasons for Chicago before being traded again, to the New York Islanders, on October 4, 2014, just six days before the beginning of the 2014-15 season.

Leddy spent the last seven seasons with the Islanders, compiling 45 goals and 198 assists in 518 games, helping to lead his club to the playoffs in five of his seven seasons. The 6-foot, 207-pound blueliner led Islanders defensemen with 31 points last season, and he's been incredibly durable throughout his career, missing just 16 games in 10 full NHL seasons, and he's skated in every game in five of those 10 campaigns.

Video: Red Wings defenseman Nick Leddy speaks with the media

Leddy, who's earned 336 points in 776 games throughout his 11-year NHL career, said he relishes helping younger players adapt to the NHL, and he looks forward to bringing a veteran leadership presence to a young Red Wings dressing room.

"I'm just here to do my best every day. Whether it's teaching younger guys or learning from them," Leddy said. "I think for me, seeing a guy like (21-year-old Islanders defenseman) Noah Dobson last year, I learned a lot from him. Taking younger guys under my wing is something I've always tried to do. And for me, leading on the ice by example is what I've always been about."

Although the Eden Prairie, Minnesota native has never spent extended time in Michigan, he is familiar with a couple of his new teammates, having played with Red Wings forward Frans Nielsen and goalie Thomas Greiss in New York.

Leddy said he looks forward to the challenge of going from a team that made two straight conference finals to a club in the midst of a rebuild.

"It doesn't change my approach," he said. "For me, it's all about winning games and I'm here to do that. I think this opportunity is going to be great for me. I'm excited to be here and I'm really looking forward to this opportunity."

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