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updated: 7/3/2013 9:11 PM

Nick Leddy back for more with Blackhawks

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  • Blackhawks defenseman Nick Leddy blocks a shot in front of goalie Corey Crawford during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Bruins.

      Blackhawks defenseman Nick Leddy blocks a shot in front of goalie Corey Crawford during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Bruins.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman tied up another loose end Wednesday by getting defenseman Nick Leddy's name on a new two-year contract.

The 22-year-old Leddy would have become a restricted free agent Friday.

"We are pleased to announce that Nick will remain a core member of our organization," Bowman said in a statement. "Over the course of the past three seasons, Nick has shown continuous development, and we think he will be essential to our long-term success."

Leddy ranked third among Hawks defensemen this season 18 points (6 goals) and a plus-15 rating in 48 regular-season games. The Eden Prairie, Minn., native added 2 assists in 23 playoff games.

Leddy established career highs in goals, power-play goals (2) and game-winning goals (2).

"I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to remain in Chicago and be a part of this special group of young, experienced players on a team in a winning environment," Leddy said in a statement. "The organization is first class both on and off the ice, and I am honored to be a member of the Chicago Blackhawks."

Minnesota originally drafted Leddy 16th overall in 2009, but the Hawks acquired him along with defenseman Kim Johnsson on Feb. 12, 2010, in exchange for defenseman Cam Barker. It was perhaps Bowman's finest trade.

Last week Bowman spoke of what Leddy means to the Hawks and about the bright future Leddy had with the team. He had his ice time reduced dramatically as the playoffs progressed, a fact Bowman blamed on the lack of experience.

"Nick had a tremendous season when you look back at it," Bowman said. "There was just a couple games at the very end when, obviously, it's a very difficult situation to be in. I think in the playoffs experience matters. We've seen, if you look at our team, the veteran guys really came through for us."

The Stanley Cup win was the first for Leddy.

"I think it's a great experience for Nick and, I'll tell you, when you look back at Game 6 (against Boston), I'm really proud of the way Nick responded there," Bowman said. "He hadn't played in awhile and he jumped out while we were down and he had a couple great shifts there.

"He kind of got the momentum going and then I think it was the next shift is when we tied the game. So, he played a big part in it. I know he didn't get a lot of minutes, but that's not easy to do, to come off the bench when you haven't played.

"We're excited about his future," Bowman added. "He's taken steps every year and I expect next year to be another one where he's going to raise his game. He's got that experience now of having won a Cup and being a big part of it, so I look forward to next year for him."

Hawks coach Joel Quenneville has been a big Leddy supporter and often talks about the time it takes for young defensemen to get a feel for the league.

"Nick is still at a young age," Quenneville said. "He will get better, learn different situations, learn players, assets; we think we ended it on a positive note."

Since winning the Cup a little more than a week ago, Bowman has traded Dave Bolland and Michael Frolik for draft picks, re-signed his top unrestricted free agent in Bryan Bickell to a four-year, $16 million deal and signed one of his key restricted free agents in Leddy.

Center Marcus Kruger is believed to be close to signing a two-year deal as well. Kruger would become a restricted free agent Friday.

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