Nick Leddy motivated by Blackhawks' latest Stanley Cup victory


Nick Leddy motivated by Blackhawks' latest Stanley Cup victory

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Nick Leddy watched on Wednesday night when the Blackhawks hoisted another Stanley Cup banner at the United Center.

As much as the New York Islanders defenseman would love to hoist another Cup again himself, as he did with the Blackhawks in 2013, he was happy to see some of his former teammates do so again.

“It was excitement for all my buddies and seeing them win again was incredible,” said Leddy, who will face the Blackhawks in back-to-back games Friday and Saturday. “They have such a great hockey team there, a great organization. I couldn’t ask for anything more for them.”

The Islanders are looking to reach that point again with their franchise, and have made players like Leddy cornerstones of their resurgence. Leddy, who signed a seven-year, $38.5 million contract in February, is part of an Islanders team looking to build off last year’s postseason appearance.

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“I think it’s like in Chicago: it’s a very experienced team,” Leddy said of the Islanders. “You go through ups and downs and you get used to the playoffs and not a lot of guys have been through the playoffs. The guys from last year finally have, and they kind of know what to expect.”

Leddy didn’t get a chance to catch up with any of his former teammates on Thursday night but his close friend Andrew Shaw joked that he’s ready to reacquaint himself with Leddy at Friday's game.

“If I get a chance to run him in the corner, for sure I’ll do so,” Shaw said with a grin. “[We talk] a couple of times a month, just asking how each other is, how the families are doing, stuff like that. We came up together and we were roommates for a few years, so that bond won’t be broken. But once that puck drops, it’s hockey.”

Leddy didn’t play at the United Center when the Islanders were there last season; he skated with the team, but an upper-body injury kept him out of the game. So Saturday will mark the first time he’s played at the UC since Game 7 against the Los Angeles Kings in the spring of 2014. Leddy said could be an emotional night.

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“It’ll be very exciting. It’s always exciting playing against all your buddies. But obviously it’ll be a little nerve-wracking being out there for the first time [since the trade],” he said. “I think once I get out there and get that first shift under the belt, all the nerves will calm down and I’ll be able to go from there.”

On Thursday night, Leddy and teammate Brock Nelson flipped the switch for a ceremonial lighting of the Empire State Building, which displayed the Islanders’ blue and orange colors. That ceremony was a great way to start the Islanders’ latest campaign in their new home. The Blackhawks’ banner-raising ceremony is the one that Leddy hopes to experience with his Islanders teammates soon.

“It definitely motivates you,” said Leddy. “Going through it once, you want to relieve that. Seeing it definitely makes you a little jealous and definitely motivated." 

Stan Bowman: Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford 'progressing like he normally would'

Stan Bowman: Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford 'progressing like he normally would'

Stan Bowman likes where Corey Crawford is at this state of the offseason, he said Friday prior to the NHL Draft.

Speaking with NBC Sports Chicago's Pat Boyle, Bowman noted that while Crawford hasn't begun doing any on-ice work, that isn't unusual for players this early.

"We’ve been in contact with Corey and I think he’s been progressing like he normally would," Bowman said. "Most guys don’t do a lot of on-ice work the first couple of months of the offseason.

"Typically they get back on the ice sometime in July, some guys don’t skate until August. I think that’s sort of the plan for Corey as we go along here. I would say he’s right on the normal schedule for the offseason and we’ll just see how that goes."

That's good news for the Blackhawks, who sorely missed Crawford a year ago. The three-time Stanley Cup champion appeared in just 28 games, earning a 16-9-2 record and a 2.27 GAA.

NHL Draft 2018: Preview, start time, pick order, live stream and how to watch Round 1


NHL Draft 2018: Preview, start time, pick order, live stream and how to watch Round 1

The Chicago Blackhawks missed the playoffs for the first time in 10 seasons and are looking towards the 2018 NHL Draft to right the ship. The Blackhawks are picking inside the top 10 of the NHL Draft for the first time since selecting Patrick Kane first overall in 2007.

The Blackhawks are in a transitional period, with the era of talent that won three Stanley Cups on the back half of the bell curve in their careers. Rocky Wirtz already acknowledged changes could be coming and noted "nothing lasts forever."

Promising young talent from the 2018-19 season, like Alex DeBrincat, are keeping hopes of extending this era of hockey dominance alive. Armed with two first round picks in the 2018 NHL Draft, the Blackhawks could help solidify the franchise's chances of competing for Stanley Cups for years to come if they land a top talent.

There were rumors that the Blackhawks could explore draft day trades, but general manager Stan Bowman said the team wasn't actively looking to make a trade but wouldn't pass up a great offer or opportunity. The Blackhawks hope to find a future star at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, home of the Stars.

NHL Draft Information

When: June 22-23
Where: American Airlines Center (Dallas)
Network: NBCSN
Live stream: NBCSports
Social media: @NBCSBlackhawks 
On-Site Reporters: Pat Boyle (@BoyleNBCS), Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis)

Round 1 Information

Start Time: 6:30 p.m. CT
TV Network: NBCSN
Live stream: NBCSports

Round 2-7 Information

Start Time: 10:00 a.m. CT
TV Network: NHL Network

2018 NHL Draft Order

1. Buffalo Sabres
2. Carolina Hurricanes
3. Montreal Canadiens
4. Ottawa Senators
5. Arizona Coyotes
6. Detroit Red Wings
7. Vancouver Canucks
8. Chicago Blackhawks
9. New York Rangers
10. Edmonton Oilers
11. New York Islanders
12. New York Islanders
13. Dallas Stars
14. Philadelphia Flyers
15. Florida Panthers
16. Colorado Avalanche
17. New Jersey Devils
18. Columbus Blue Jackets
19. Philadelphia Flyers
20. Los Angeles Kings
21. San Jose Sharks
22. Ottawa Senators
23. Anaheim Ducks
24. Minnesota Wild
25. Toronto Maple Leafs
26. New York Rangers
27. Chicago Blackhawks*
28. New York Rangers
29. St. Louis Blues
30. Detroit Red Wings
31. Washington Capitals

*-Acquired from Nashville in Ryan Hartman Trade

Blackhawks' 2018 NHL Draft Picks

The Blackhawks have eight overall picks in the NHL Draft, two in the first round. Chicago's second pick in the first round, at 27th overall, came from the Nashville Predators in the Ryan Hartman trade. The Blackhawks have two third-round picks, one from Nashville and one from the Washington Capitals (from Toronto) in the Michael Kempny trade.

Chicago doesn't have a second round pick because they traded it to the Montreal Canadiens in February 2016 alongside Phillip Danault for Tomas Fleischmann and Dale Weise. The Blackhawks traded a fourth-round pick to Dallas with Mark McNeill in February 2017 for Johnny Oduya, and added a fourth-round pick from Nashville in the Hartman deal. 

The Blackhawks' fifth-round pick comes from the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Artemi Panarin trade, that also brought Brandon Saad to Chicago. Panarin has told Columbus he is not ready to consider an extension, putting Panarin back on the trade block.

Rd. 1: No. 8

Rd. 1: No. 27 via Nashville

Rd. 3: No. 69 overall

Rd. 3: No. 87 overall via Washington from Toronto

Rd. 4: No. 120 overall via Nashville

Rd. 5: No. 142 overall via Columbus

Rd. 6: No. 163 overall

Rd. 7: No. 193 overall

NHL Draft Preview

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NHL Draft Profiles

We examined the top 10 projected picks and how they would fit in with the Blackhawks.