NHL Roundup: Isles trade Nick Leddy; Ovechkin talking KHL; Kraken trade freeze; protected lists and more

Feb 4, 2021; New York, NY, USA; Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) misses a first period opportunity against New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL Trade Freeze will go into effect today which also coincides with the deadline to submit protected lists for the upcoming Seattle Expansion Draft on July 21st. While we expect news to leak with regards to big names available to the Kraken, all protected players will be published tomorrow.

Starting at 3 PM ET until July 22nd, only the Kraken can make trades with any team they want in the NHL. Teams will not be permitted to make deals with one another; just Seattle.

NHL Trade: Islanders trade Nick Leddy

The New York Islanders traded defenseman Nick Leddy to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for Richard Panik and a second round selection in the 2021 NHL Draft. The pick is 52nd overall which was acquired from the Edmonton Oilers for Andreas Athanasiou. Detroit will also retains 50% of Panik’s salary. 

This move frees up over $4 million in cap space for Lou Lamoriello who is trying to retain Casey Cizikas. Leddy’s $5.5 million cap hit is taken on fully by the Red Wings and they will also eat 50% of Panik’s salary. Isles are responsible for only $1.375M.

Expect another move by the Islanders today in order to meet the expansion requirement of having one defenseman under contract for next season available. It is believed Andy Greene will get a one year deal to meet the requirement.

NHL Roundup: Alex Ovechkin back in the KHL

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Ovechkin is in Russia and had an interesting comment in a wide-ranging interview with MatchTV. Everyone knows Ovechkin loves Russia and will one day return to it. When asked about the status of his contract he provided a candid response.

“No worries [on not having a contract yet]. Because technically, if I don’t sign a new contract with Washington, I will become an unrestricted free agent,” he said. “But, of course, I would like to stay in Washington. Negotiations are still underway. So let’s wait and see.”

The follow up question asked was if there’s even a small chance he would come back to Moscow Dynamo in 2021-22.

“Next season? Yes, anything is possible!”

More pre-Expansion transactions

The Columbus Blue Jackets can now protect goaltender Joonas Korpisalo from the Seattle Kraken. They re-signed goaltender Cam Johnson to a one-year, two-way contract for 2021-22 in order to do so.

Columbus was in a bit of a pickle since they had no goalie to expose. Elvis Merzlikins is exempt from the expansion draft and they needed to get one under contract to meet the requirement.

Also, the Rangers signed Julien Gauthier to a one year deal. If he is exposed, there’s a good chance he will be taken. It’s possible the Rangers may also have a deal in the works where he could be involved.

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Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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