Leopold Gets the Boot in Duck Land

By Martin Dittman
The Ducks have traded University of Minnesota defenseman Jordan Leopold to Calgary. They got Andrei Nazarov and a ghost of the future in a draft choice. But they gave up a sure-fire NHLer. Arguably, one of the best d-man in all of college hockey.

It’s very easy to defend this trade. The Ducks received “The Most Dangerous Man in Hockey.” Andrei Nazarov brings a player for today into the fold. He’ll be right there joining Jim Cummins as a tag team of sorts. He can fight well not to mention be one of the most brutal players the NHL has ever seen. Just ask his victims. But is he a defenseman that will be around as a potential anchor? Hardly. In fact, he’s your basic role player whom the Ducks love to have a surplus of.

The theory that Nazarov will protect Selanne and Kariya is a good one. But he may not bring enough else to the game. Of course, the Ducks received a second round draft choice as well. It can’t be forgotten that Leopold was a second round draft choice himself. This way, the claim is the Ducks at least made the trade even if not the better end of the deal. It makes no difference if another Nik Tsulygin is chosen with that choice.

That draft choice is obviously the key to the deal – not Nazarov. But as of now, it is just a phantom player. Someone that someday will put the Ducks ahead of the pack. But Leopold could’ve been that player. A solid defender, he was Team USA’s captain at the WJC’s. He anchored their defense and was considered one of the best players in the entire tournament. It will be hard for Pierre Gauthier to uncover another Leopold in 2001′s draft.