After two root canals and the installation of some wiring across his front teeth, the Blackhawks' Nick Leddy said recently, "I look more like a hockey player."

Despite the damage caused by taking a puck to his mouth Feb. 7 against the Coyotes, Leddy is looking more like a very good hockey player these days. The Minnesota native, who will turn 22 on March 20, has developed into one of the Hawks' most dependable defensemen. He's tied for second on the team with a plus-11 rating after Sunday night's game against the Oilers at the United Center.

"My plus-minus is a lot better, which is good," Leddy said. "I definitely feel a lot more comfortable. I think playing in Rockford (during the lockout) and gaining that confidence definitely helped out."

Leddy also has become a staple on the power play, with the Hawks looking to take advantage of his speed to move the puck.

"I'm an offensive defenseman so I'm trying to help create some offense," Leddy said. "Obviously the defense is No. 1 and you can always keep working on defense, (but) … trying to create plays and help the team score is what I'm trying to do."