The New York Islanders shipped Nick Leddy to the Detroit Red Wings in July rather than risk losing him for nothing in the Seattle Kraken expansion draft. They signed Zdeno Chara as a replacement but general manager Lou Lamoriello could have his eye on Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm later in the season.
Chara brings considerable defensive experience and leadership to the Islanders blueline. However, the 44-year-old can't replace Leddy's puck-moving skills on the left side of their second defense pairing. That could become an issue as the schedule rolls along.
In this week's “32 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman pointed out that Lindholm, Ryan Getzlaf, Josh Manson and Rickard Rakell are slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer. With no indication contract extension talks are underway, they could draw interest from other teams.
Last week, The Athletic's Arthur Staple reported Lindholm was among a couple of defensemen Lamoriello likely investigated during the summer. He felt the Ducks blueliner could still be of interest to the Isles GM depending on the health and effectiveness of his defense corps over the course of the season.
Lindholm's availability will depend on the Ducks' performance as the March 21 trade deadline approaches. Given their ongoing rebuild, they could once again become sellers.
Staple observed the Isles don't have much to part with in terms of trade bait other than their first-round pick in the 2022 draft. Nevertheless, he felt Lamoriello might be willing to throw in while his club is best-positioned to win the Stanley Cup.
It could cost the Isles their first-rounder to outbid other clubs for Lindholm if he's available by the trade deadline. The Ducks will want a return that fits into their rebuilding plans.