The question doesn’t really have to come up in morning skate that often. We all know by now the Chicago Blackhawks are rotating three defensemen in that sixth spot, and the rotation’s been pretty steady among Michal Rozsival, Sheldon Brookbank and Michael Kostka.
The one constant on that third line defensive pair has been Nick Leddy. The 22-year-old has been the Blackhawks’ steady fifth defenseman for the past two seasons. And while the revolving door at the sixth defenseman slot is interesting, it’s not one that alters Leddy’s game.
Leddy has played fine this season, be it with Rozsival, Brookbank or Kostka. Leddy’s used to playing with a different defensive partner – Rozisval and Brookbank shared the sixth-defenseman role until the postseason, when Rozsival took over through the Stanley Cup run. After all, he’s not the one going in and out of the lineup.
“It’s probably harder on them than it is me because I’m playing consistently,” said Leddy, who played just over 15 minutes and finished a plus-1 in the Blackhawks’ 3-2 overtime loss to Colorado on Tuesday. “But I think, in a way, it’s tough switching from guy to guy because everyone plays different.”
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True, there are different styles and various levels of experience. For Leddy, however, it’s just about talking it out.
“That’s when communicating is huge,” said Leddy. “I’ve really started to work on that and I think I’ve gotten better at it. It’s not as big of an adjustment for me as the other guys.”
It’s also been an educational experience.
“I’ve learned quite a bit from those guys, with the different styles they play. And think having that veteran defense is huge,” Leddy said. “It’s definitely nice for a young defenseman to learn from.”