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Could Leddy be the next Housely?
By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 8/1/2010 9:07 PM

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Blackhawks senior advisor Scotty Bowman told fans at the convention on Sunday he sees a little bit of Phil Housley in recently signed defenseman Nick Leddy.

Bowman coached Housley as a rookie right out of a Minnesota high school with the Buffalo Sabres in 1982-83 with Housley going on to become one of the NHL's highest scoring defensemen ever with 1,232 points.

The 19-year-old Leddy is one year removed from high school, signing with the Hawks on Friday rather than return to the University of Minnesota for his sophomore year.

"I remember when Phil was 18 and I would compare (Leddy) to Phil in terms of his skating, his head and his heart," Bowman said.

General manager Stan Bowman has already said it's likely Leddy would start the season in the minors at Rockford.

"He is so smooth on the ice," Stan Bowman said. "The concern for us was really just maybe his maturity and his size more than anything.

"People have said he's a small defenseman, but if you look at him he's really not even done growing yet and he's about almost 190 pounds right now. He was one of the top conditioned guys (at prospects camp), so that put that question aside."

Huet question: What's next for Stan Bowman once the Antti Niemi issue is settled? Working out Cristobal Huet's departure.

Huet, who has two years remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $5.6 million, certainly won't be back with the Hawks, who desperately need his money off the books.

It's possible Huet could go play in Europe or Russia - or the Hawks can assign him to the minors at training camp.

Either way, the Hawks must pay Huet, but his salary wouldn't count against the cap.

"I have spoken to his agent over the last couple weeks, but to be honest with you my focus has kind of been on preparing for Antti," Bowman said. "I guess once we get through the next few days here I'll probably focus more on that. I haven't really made much progress at all with his agent as to where it's going to end up."

Not satisfied: If the season started today there's a good chance speedy left wing Viktor Stalberg would be on one of the top three lines.

Stalberg was acquired from Toronto in the Kris Versteeg deal.

"I think I proved that I can play at the NHL level (9 goals in 40 games with the Maple Leafs), but I've got a lot developing to do to become the kind of player I want to be," Stalberg said. "I don't want to settle for being a third- or fourth-line guy."

Big addition: As of right now Hawks coach Joel Quenneville sees John Scott as one of his defensemen even though the Wild used the 6-foot-8, 260-pound Scott at wing at times last season.

"He's played forward and defense, but right off the bat we see him as a defenseman," Quenneville said. "We think he's not a one-dimensional tough guy."