Andy Graziano and I have begun our annual season review, taking a look back at the 2016-17 Islanders and analyzing each player's performance in a down season that saw the team miss the playoffs by one point.
We will be offering two reviews per week that will take us right through to the beginning of training camp in September. Of course, there are a couple of things to sort out prior, such as free agency and potential trades that could alter the look of this franchise going forward.
Contract details via nhlnumbers.com and stats courtesy of hockeyreference.com.
2 - Nick Leddy - Defenseman
6-0, 199 lbs
26 years old
Contract: $5.5 million cap hit, signed through 2021-2022
Season: 81 GP, 11 G - 35 A - 46 Pts, 12 PIM, 137 Shots, 22:43 TOI, 47.8 Corsi
Career: 498 GP, 46 G - 170 A - 216 Pts, 85 PIM, 697 Shots, 19:54 TOI, 52.6 Corsi
Leddy is usually about as steady as they come, but this is the second consecutive year that his season didn't really get into gear until the second half. It wasn't all discouragement, as Leddy set a career-high in both goals and points, and there was certainly enough at the end of the year from a defensive perspective to salvage the campaign.
The Islanders played the bulk of the first three months under constant siege from opposing team's offenses, and no defenseman felt that more than Leddy. While averaging 22 1/2 minutes from October to December, Leddy racked up a -12 rating, and saw his advanced metrics sag.
It was uncharacteristic of the Isles' top defenseman, but I can't really fault him. Outside of an upper-body injury that only cost him one game, but of which the effects may have lingered beyond that, most of the blue line was forced to play out of position for the majority of the season.
The Isles tried to utilize Leddy in a variety of roles that would cover their warts and shore up their deficiencies. But it wasn't until Doug Weight took over that Leddy's 2016-17 season took off.
In 46 games from January to April, Leddy scored 31 points and posted a +9 rating. In January, he averaged a point per game (three goals, nine assists in 12 games), including his lone game-winning goal of the season. While it ended up being the worst possession season of his career (47.8 Corsi, and 47.3 Fenwick at even strength), those numbers were improvements from where he was at the season's onset.
IPB Grade: C+:It wasn't Leddy's best, but there were certainly some major signs of improving toward the mean in the second half. One has to wonder just how much better Leddy will be with a full season of Weight behind the bench, and what his power play time will look like with Ryan Pulock presumably in the mix on a full-time basis. But no matter how his role evolves, Leddy is by far and away the number one d-man on this Islanders club.