What the Blues got
If you have not heard of Luke Witkowski, you’re not alone. Frankly, if he ever suits up for the Blues, I’d be a little surprised.
The guy is 31 and played the vast majority of his career in the AHL. He has a grand total of one game played for the Red Wings this season.
He’s never played more than 34 games in any NHL season and that was pre-pandemic. The bottom line is this was a throw away inclusion.
St. Louis essentially picked him up to bolster Springfield and also have an NHL ready player in case their recent luck with injuries and illness continued. He’s not going to add anything and is only an emergency call up. He will not even join the team as Doug Armstrong said he will be immediately sent to the AHL.
In a vacuum, if you told me Nick Leddy would become a member of the St. Louis Blues, I would mainly nod and say that’s fine. It’s not really something that moves the needle, but it’s a respectable pickup.
The issue with Leddy is not with the player himself. It’s more what the Blues will ask/require of him.
The positives of Leddy are there. First, and perhaps foremost, he brings championship experience. Though the 2019 Blues won with no Cup winners on the squad, you still cannot discount a fresh perspective of someone that has been through the battles and come out successful.
Leddy is not an offensive force, but he’s a good puck mover, both with the puck and passing it.
He also eats up minutes. In 12 years in the league, Leddy has averaged 21 minutes of ice time, or more, nine times. One of those seasons he was injured and he was a rookie in one of the others.
Interestingly, the Blues need to make it crystal clear he’s not expected to put up points. Somewhat coincidentally, and somewhat not, Leddy’s best offensive years have been his worst plus/minus years. His career second best offensive season – 10 goals and 42 points – saw him end up a whopping minus-42. That has more to do with the mindset of that season’s New York Islanders, but it bears keeping in mind.
For my perspective, the negative from Leddy is that he’s kind of just there. He’s not an elite defender, but he’s fine. However, he’s more of a positional defender that makes smart plays.
The Blues were in serious need of a big body that was going to get a little nasty in front of the net. Leddy is not big at 6’0 tall and just over 200 lbs. He’s not very mean either. At best, he might have a slightly bigger attitude than Jay Bouwmeester had.
He doesn’t block a ton of shots. He doesn’t throw a bunch of hits. Leddy brings some intangibles that won’t be seen on the stat sheet, but those are hard to quantify when assessing trades.