Why a C-grade
The reason this grade gets a mediocre grade is that it doesn’t affect a lot.
It’s a decent trade for some aspects. The Blues needed defensive help and they added a defenseman.
The problem they run into is that they needed a top-pair defender. That’s not what Leddy is. At this stage of his career, he’s a second pair defender and the Blues already have a second pairing.
You’re not going to put him on the bottom pair, so he’s already punching a bit above where you’d like him. Even if you do use him on the bottom pair, you’re still asking other guys to play above their current level, such as Niko Mikkola or Marco Scandella. Neither have had a good partnership with Colton Parayko this season.
I think the hope will be that Leddy gets a boost from being on a contender, the same way that Scandella was initially a perfect partner for Parayko when he was first picked up. That’s a bit hopeful.
While he was injured on and off in 2022, the loss of Sundqvist isn’t your average bottom six player being sent away. The Blues lost versatility and tenacity that won’t simply be replaced by players like Logan Brown, Klim Kostin or even Dakota Joshua. Losing a forward that will actually play defense puts even more pressure on the actual defenders.
While the players involved affect the grade, the biggest meh part of this deal is because it is essentially a salary dump. That sounds odd to say since the cap hits are the same, given Detroit retaining 50% of Leddy’s cap hit, but it is a dump for the offseason.
Nobody should be totally shocked if Armstrong finds a way to re-sign Leddy. That said, this deal is likely a rental.
Unless Leddy takes a steep pay cut in his next contract, the Blues made this move to free up the $2.75 million for this coming offseason. They get financial flexibility while also acquiring a piece they hope will help them for the 2022 playoffs.
While it’s understandable why you shed Walman and Sundqvist, for the various reasons, picking up players that are quite unlikely to remain with your team just never feels right. Assuming Leddy doesn’t remain with the team, the Blues will be right back in the same boat in the upcoming offseason or during the year next season.
I have high hopes for Perunovich, but he’s not big and not defensive. Scandella is a mess, so unless you unload him and find an upgrade, you’re just in the same spot after this year, needing to find someone to pair with Parayko and be a defender first.
Time will tell how this deal is received. If St. Louis makes a long run in the playoffs, it turns out to be a fantastic move. That may also be true if St. Louis can swing some decent deals in the summer and use the freed up space to make a nice acquisition then.
For now, it was a trade and the Blues needed a bit of fresh blood. It doesn’t move the needle that much, but that’s more a reflection on what the Blues needed as opposed to what Leddy is.
It sets them up better for the offseason. As far as right now, it’s a wait and see.