Shortly after news broke that they had acquired Johnny Boychuk from the Boston Bruins for picks, it emerged that Nick Leddy was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks for defensemen Ville Pokka and TJ Brennan and goalie prospect Anders Nilsson. Newsday's Arthur Staple broke both stories after the day's practices were finishing up.
Leddy is a skilled defenseman making $2.7 million per year on a two-year bridge contract. He'll be an RFA again next summer. Also in the deal is AHL goalie Kent Simpson, a 58th overall pick by Chicago in 2010.
Both new defensemen were shed from their recent Stanley Cup-winning teams purely for salary cap reasons. The subject of trade rumors all summer long due to those cap situations, both Boychuk and Leddy now end up as part of an Islanders team that has made a series of moves since last June to finish its time in the Coliseum in style.
The trades improve the club while also soothing concerns about a young and injury-vulnerable Islanders defense. Calvin de Haan and Lubomir Visnovsky could both be keys, but both are again nursing injuries.
The Islanders upgraded while only giving up one player who was likely make the season-opening roster: Brennan had a good camp and could help the Blackhawks. (Edit: However, sounds like he'll have to pass through waivers first, as Bob McKenzie of TSN says the Hawks will try to assign him to the AHL.)
Pokka is an impressive prospect who is set to start his first season in North America, while Nilsson is playing in Europe and hasn't impressed in the NHL.