Nick Leddy has been as important to the Islanders' success this season as any player on the team. His value was rewarded with a big new contract Tuesday.
Leddy and the Islanders agreed to a seven-year, $38.5-million deal, the 23-year-old locked up now longer than any player on the roster.
In buying back five years of unrestricted free agency, general manager Garth Snow gave Leddy a healthy raise from $3.4 million per season and ensured the core of the team's defense would be intact well beyond next season.
"There are a lot of things that go into it," Leddy said. "Every aspect of the team, organization, Long Island and my personal happiness, all of those things are great."
Johnny Boychuk is still a pending unrestricted free agent after the season, but the Isles have three young defensemen signed into the future: Leddy, through the 2021-22 season; Travis Hamonic, signed through 2019-20 at a very reasonable $3.857-million cap hit per year, and Calvin de Haan, signed through 2016-17 for just $1.97 million in average annual value.
That leaves plenty of room to sign Boychuk, as the Islanders hope to do. The trade deadline looming Monday does not factor into Snow's plans one bit; his focus this week, according to people familiar with the GM's thinking, is entirely on locking up Boychuk and the team's other pending free agents, Brock Nelson and Anders Lee, who are both pending RFAs after the season.
Leddy and Boychuk came in separate trades an hour apart on Oct. 4, Leddy from the cap-strapped Blackhawks for prospect Ville Pokka, defenseman T.J. Brennan and goaltender Anders Nilsson, who is playing in the KHL.
Immediately installed on the top defense pair, Leddy has proven to be the most durable defenseman on the team while also scoring eight goals and a total of 25 points.
"I saw his comments from earlier and it's gratifying to see what he said," Jack Capuano said. "The fact he wanted to be around these guys speaks volumes for the organization."