Last night in the game broadcast I mentioned that the trade that saw Nick Leddy come to the Chicago Blackhawks from the Minnesota Wild for Cam Barker was a great deal. play-by-play man Pat Foley took it one step further and said it wasn't often you hit a home run with a trade, but this was certainly one of them.
Leddy was a dominant force all night long against his former team, chipping in with two assists and playing almost 23 minutes. What you sometimes forget is here is a guy who just turned 21 a couple of weeks ago. He has been a nice addition to the power play since Duncan Keith was suspended for five games, and has helped the team go 3-for-10 over the last two games.
He is certainly one of the Blackhawks top-4 defensemen, something Cam Barker could never crack into. Barker, a former 3rd overall pick from 2004, has bounced around from Minnesota to Edmonton, where he was injured and then a healthy scratch for a good part of this year. Leddy may not bowl you over with his strength, but is a deceptively smooth and powerful skater who uses his stick instead of his body to break up plays. At 21 years of age and in barely his second year in the NHL, Leddy is the type of player in today's NHL that many GM's dream of.
Michal Kempny was in and out of the Blackhawks lineup last season but he’ll likely get a bigger opportunity this coming season. On Saturday, he was assured of coming back to get that chance.
Kempny and the Blackhawks agreed to a one-year extension, the team announced on Saturday morning.
“Michal’s style of play is an asset to our defense,” general manager Stan Bowman said in a statement. “He is the type of player who will continue to improve now that he has transitioned to the National Hockey League. We look forward to his continued development on the ice for the Blackhawks.”
Kempny was part of a very crowded blue line last season — he was one of eight defensemen at the start of it — and played 50 regular-season games. He recorded two goals and six assists in those contests but did not play in the Blackhawks’ four postseason contests. With Johnny Oduya and Brian Campbell likely not returning, however, Kempny should get a bigger opportunity this season.
The 26-year-old Kempny also had two goals and an assist in eight games for the Czech Republic team at the 2017 World Championship.
With exactly a month to go until Chicago hosts the 2017 NHL Draft for the first time ever, the Blackhawks and league announced Wednesday their plans for Fan Fest held outside the United Center on June 23 and 24.
A handful of Blackhawks players and alumni will be in attendance and made available for photo opportunities, as will the Stanley Cup. Fans will also be able to explore the NHL Centennial Fan Arena, "a 53-foot museum truck with an innovative interior featuring more than 1,000 square feet of interactive digital displays, original video content, one-of-a-kind historical memorabilia, unique photo moments and a social media wall," according to the press release.
A full list of activities, special guest appearances and schedule will be posted at a later date.
Friday's events will run from 3 to 9 p.m. while Saturday's festivites will go from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Parking Lot C, north of the United Center.
Additional passes for the weekend will be made available to the public starting June 9. For more information, visit chicagoblackhawks.com/fanfest.