The Chicago Blackhawks traded defenseman Nick Leddy and goaltender Kent Simpson to the New York Islanders for defensemen Ville Pokka and T.J. Brennan and the rights to goaltender Anders Nilsson on Saturday.
The Blackhawks are now under the $69 million salary cap after trading Leddy, who had a $2.7 million cap hit this season. The Blackhawks were about $1.2 million over the cap prior to moving Leddy, according to capgeek.com, and needed to get under the cap before 4 p.m. CST on Tuesday or face a number of penalties, including forfeiting games.
The Blackhawks have assigned Pokka and Brennan to the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL. Brennan needs to go through waivers before he can report to Rockford.
Leddy, 23, was a fixture in the Blackhawks' third defensemen pairing and power play throughout his career. He had 20 goals, 73 assists and was a plus-10 in 258 regular-season games. He also played in 54 playoff games and helped the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup in 2013.
Leddy is set to become a restricted free agent after the 2014-15 season. He signed a two-year contract extension with the Blackhawks after the 2012-2013 season. The Blackhawks originally acquired Leddy's rights in a trade with the Minnesota Wild in 2010.
"Nick Leddy loved playing for Chicago but is looking forward to joining the young group of talented players in New York as they prepare to move to Brooklyn next season," Leddy's agent Neil Sheehy wrote in a text message Saturday.
Simpson, 22, played most of last season with the IceHogs and played in one game for the Blackhawks. He had been loaned to the Indy Fuel, the Blackhawks' ECHL affiliate, by the IceHogs on Saturday morning. He was selected by the Blackhawks in the second round of the 2010 draft.
Brennan, 25, had 25 goals and 47 assists in 76 regular-season games for the Toronto Marlies of the AHL last season. He won the 2014 Eddie Shore Award, which is given to the AHL's most outstanding defenseman. He has four goals and seven assists in 40 career NHL games with the Buffalo Sabres and Florida Panthers. He was selected by the Sabres in the second round of the 2007 draft.
Pokka, 20, played for Karpat in the Liiga in Finland last season. He had six goals and 21 assists in 54 games last season. He played in one preseason game for the Islanders this season. He was drafted by the Islanders in the second round in 2012.
Nilsson, 24, is a restricted free agent. He is playing for Kazan Ak-Bars in the KHL this season and has a 4-1-2 record with a 2.10 goals-against average and .928 save percentage in eight games. He played last season for the Islanders and the AHL's Bridgeport Sound. He was 8-7-2 with a 3.11 GAA and .896 save percentage in 19 regular-season games with the Islanders last season. He was drafted by the Islanders in the third round of the 2009 draft.
The Blackhawks made a number of moves Saturday. They also signed forward Daniel Carcillo to a one-year contract, placed forward Pete Regin and goaltender Michael Leighton on waivers and assigned forward Teuvo Teravainen and defenseman Klas Dahlbeck to the AHL.