The Vancouver Canucks are reportedly one of three teams kicking the tires on Columbus Blue Jackets depth defenseman Jordan Leopold, according to Sportsnet’s John Shannon. The Washington Capitals and Minnesota Wild are also believed to have interest.
Shortly after reporting this news, Shannon updated his report. So it would appear that the Canucks do not in fact have interest. So… False alarm!
If you want to read more about a player the Canucks are not, in fact, interested in – read past the jump!
Leopold, 34, is a veteran depth defender who plays the left side, has decent wheels and provides solid defensive value. He’s already been traded once this season – from the St. Louis Blues to Columbus for a 2016 fifth-round pick – so presumably his price will be set at a similar level, as the Blue Jackets try to recoup the asset they paid for him in the wake of Fedor Tyutin’s injury.
An American-born veteran blue-liner, Leopold is best suited to third-pairing duty at this stage of his career. Still he’s probably a better two-way player – even at his advanced age – than Luca Sbisa or Ryan Stanton.
Over the past three seasons Leopold has improved the Corsi For percentage of his two most regular partners, Kevin Shattenkirk and Roman Polak. Leopold’s usage adjusted puck possession numbers – by way of ownthepuck.blogspot.com – would suggest that he’s a top-four quality defensive player, but a third-pairing quality contributor on the offensive side of the puck.
Vancouver’s blue-line has fared decently well in the absence of Alex Edler, Chris Tanev and Kevin Bieksa, but depth on the left side of the blue-line remains an issue. Acquiring Leopold wouldn’t significantly alter the complexion of Vancouver’s defense corps, or anything but it would certainly help the club address that particular issue.