There’s a little bit of a feeling-out process, but Nick Leddy and Scott Mayfield are not entirely alien to playing with one another. After the past few days, it will feel even less so.
Mayfield and Leddy have been working with one another during the Islanders’ first two scrimmages of training camp as the team prepares for opening night next week. It’s a change for both defensemen, who have been used to playing alongside different D partners in the past few seasons.
However, with the end of Johnny Boychuk’s career and the trade of Devon Toews, Mayfield and Ledd were in the market for new partners this season. The most logical move, pair the two together.
“I think me and Nick are comfortable with each other,” Scott Mayfield said following the Islanders’ fourth day of on-ice workouts. “We all know what he can do. How good of a player he is and I think him stepping into that Toews spot — me and Toews did spend a lot of time together — him stepping in there kind of similar players.”
Mayfield noted the similarities in the way Toews and Leddy skate and how they break the puck out.
Fittingly, Mayfield’s style of play mimics Johnny Boychuk in away. At 6’5,” 220 lb, Mayfield possesses the size and the ability to play a physical game.
“I do think the physical aspect is going to be important for me just because Johnny is out of the lineup,” Scott Mayfield said. “He brought that steady, physical defenseman presence. Then the (penalty kill) that’s going to be a little more PK time with him out as well being the two righties out there with (Ryan Pulock).”
Now, pairings could change before the season starts next week. But Leddy seemed more than comfortable working with his new partner, who he agreed shared a lot of similarities with Boychuk.
“They both have their strengths and weaknesses, I think a lot more strengths for both of them than weaknesses,” Leddy said. “both are very fun to play with for me. They’re smart hockey players. Very good defensively, obviously very big, rangy. Can make the good first play and you know the biggest thing is getting the Puck from our zone and out to the offensive hands.”