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Leddy puts himself in the spotlight for Hawks defense
By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 10/4/2010 4:32 PM | Updated: 10/4/2010 4:34 PM

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Nick Leddy won't need to sweat out any more cut-down days.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville confirmed following Sunday's final preseason game that the 19-year-old defenseman would make the roster, and there's a good chance Leddy will be playing top-four minutes starting with Thursday's opener at Colorado.

While Leddy might have made the team anyway, the knee injury that knocked Brian Campbell out for at least the next month cemented his chances of staying.

Leddy played 19 minutes in Sunday's 4-3 win over St. Louis, more than Niklas Hjalmarsson, Nick Boynton and John Scott. He was used as a penalty killer and briefly on the power play.

"He's done a real nice job," Quenneville said. "Being consistent at that position is not an easy job.

"I like his feel for the game. He defends the rush well. He defends down in his own zone and has good anticipation. There's a million different situations that he can learn over the course of time that he hasn't been exposed to, but his decision making in every situation he seems to be faced with, he's done the right thing."

Helping hand: Now that Jeremy Morin has been assigned to Rockford, the Hawks won't be starting the season with two 19-year-olds on the roster.

The Hawks haven't had two rookie teen-agers make the opening night roster since 2007-08, when Jonathan Toews was 19 and Patrick Kane 18.

Toews still is ready to do what he can to help 19-year-old Nick Leddy find his way through the NHL.

"It's reminding them when they do positive things out there," Toews said. "I was lucky to play with a good group of older guys who were very helpful and didn't get on my back much. I'm going to try to do the same and let him know he's doing some good things out there."

Good to go? Jack Skille, who hasn't played since last Thursday when he injured his arm at St. Louis, is expected back at practice on Tuesday.

"He should be able to skate on Tuesday and could be ready for Thursday," Joel Quenneville said.

Money matters: Nick Leddy brings with him a hefty salary cap hit of $1.11 million.

Jeremy Morin's cap hit of $916,000 likely played a role in him being sent to Rockford considering Viktor Stalberg's hit is $850,000 and Ryan Potulny's is just $500,000.

Morin also could have been a cap casualty because of the Hawks' need to keep Leddy due to Brian Campbell's injury.

The Hawks have yet to place Campbell on injured reserve. Joel Quenneville said it was unlikely Campbell would be placed on long-term injured reserve during his 4-5 week absence.

Follow the Blackhawks and Tim Sassone via Twitter@TimSassone and check out his blog, "Between the Circles," at dailyherald.com.