Eden Prairie's Leddy improving with Blackhawks

  • Article by: RACHEL BLOUNT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 7, 2013 - 11:55 AM

Eden Prairie’s Nick Leddy is thriving in Chicago, but state-title memories refuse to fade.

hide

Eden Prairie’s Nick Leddy will have a cheering section at Xcel Energy Center when his Blackhawks face the Wild in Game 4. Leddy, a former Gophers defenseman, is a former Minnesota prep standout who won a state championship with Eden Prairie in 2009.

Photo: JERRY HOLT, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Even now, Nick Leddy can recall how thrilling it was to play in the Minnesota state high school hockey tournament at Xcel Energy Center. “It was unbelievable,” said Leddy, who helped Eden Prairie win the Class 2A title in 2009. “We had basically the whole high school in the upper stands. It just gives me jitters to think about it, and it was a few years ago.”

Like every hockey-loving kid in Minnesota, Leddy envisioned himself returning to the Xcel ice as an NHL player. He went one better Sunday, skating in an NHL playoff game for the first time in his home state. Since the Wild traded his NHL rights to Chicago in 2010, fewer people cheer for him when he plays in St. Paul, but Leddy’s family coordinated ticket requests from several who wanted to see the young defenseman make his Minnesota playoff debut.

Leddy, 22, didn’t take it personally when the Wild sent him to the Blackhawks along with Kim Johnsson in exchange for Cam Barker. He has flourished during three seasons in Chicago, and he has taken on a greater role this season for a team that leads the Wild two games to one in a first-round playoff series that resumes Tuesday at Xcel.

“This is my third time in the playoffs, and I feel more comfortable with every game I play,” said Leddy, who played all 48 games in the regular season and had six goals and 12 assists. “I’ve gotten better defensively this year, and I keep learning in every practice and every game.

“I was a little shocked [when traded by the Wild]. I learned the hard way that this is a business, and things happen. But this is my team now. I’m just focused on the present.”

Leddy was named Minnesota’s Mr. Hockey in 2009 and scored a goal and an assist in the state tournament that year to boost Eden Prairie to its first state title. He was chosen 16th overall in the 2009 NHL draft before playing one season with the Gophers.

His rights were traded while he was playing for the U in a deal that still elicits groans from Wild fans. Barker was a bust who lasted only 71 games with the Wild. Leddy continues to develop, earning more responsibility and ice time this season.

An excellent skater who can get the puck out of the defensive zone quickly, Leddy had three goals and 34 assists while playing all 82 games last season, but he also was a minus-12. This year, he worked on his game in the American Hockey League during the NHL lockout and became a stronger, more confident player, finishing the regular season with a plus-15 rating.

“He’s got unbelievable skating ability, and he uses that to his benefit,” said Brent Seabrook, Leddy’s defensive partner. “He always seems to make the right play. This year, he’s gotten stronger, he knows the game a little better and he’s matured as a player. He’s been great for us.”

Leddy is eager to continue improving in the playoffs. Last year, the Blackhawks were beaten by Phoenix in six games in the first round. To avoid a similar fate, Leddy said, his team must get back to its strengths before it leaves his hometown.

“[The Wild] played a great game [Sunday],” he said. “They were more physical than we were, and it definitely took a toll. We have to put that behind us and be better.’’

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Oakland - J. Lester 7:07 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
New England 14 FINAL
Kansas City 41
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
NY Islanders 6:00 PM
Boston
NY Rangers 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Ottawa 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
Carolina 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Tampa Bay 7:30 PM
Dallas
Colorado 8:00 PM
Calgary
Los Angeles 9:30 PM
San Jose
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Is it the right move to replace Ron Gardenhire?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close