Now that the top dog in free agency Steven Stamkos has re-signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning, it’s time to start looking at potential landing spots for the next wave of UFA’s. A two-time Stanley Cup champion, Andrew Ladd is one of the more prominent names seeking a home on July 1.
Potential Landing Spots for Andrew Ladd
Teams know what they’ll be getting out of the veteran left winger. He’s a solid two-way player, a proven winner and a consistent 50 point guy.
His initial asking price was reportedly in excess of $6 million per year over 6 years. While he may not end up getting what he’s hoping for, it should be safe to assume that he signs somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 million per season. These are a few of the teams that might have interest.
New York Islanders
Ladd has made it clear that he wants to sign with a Cup contender. He told ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun that he’s “kind of done the rebuild thing a little bit there in Winnipeg. At this point in my career I want a chance to win another Stanley Cup.” The Islanders have a passing grade on this need, earning post-season berths in three of the past four seasons.
He’s in Brooklyn today meeting with the Isles. Their Assistant General Manager and Assistant Coach Doug Weight was a teammate of Ladd’s in 2006. Together they won a Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes, so a little bit of nostalgia could add on to what the Islanders have to offer. With winger Kyle Okposo set to hit the free agent market, Ladd would become his immediate replacement. The signing would also make sense economically as the Islanders have $15 million in cap space to play with.
Ladd would likely slot in on their first line with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek. He possesses the toughness that the masses in Philadelphia love, as well as the point production out of the left wing position that their roster lacks – a match made in heaven,
However, RFA Brayden Schenn is due for a raise after his stellar 2015-16 campaign. He notched career highs in goals (26) and assists (33). The Flyers would have a hard time making Ladd work under their budget. They have just under $12 million to work with this off-season, making an Andrew Ladd signing doable, but at the expense of their cap space’s breathing room.
General Manager Marc Bergevin loves acquiring players he is familiar with. He traded for Phillip Danault last winter and recently signed Andrew Shaw to a six-year deal. Like Danault and Shaw, Ladd spent time playing under Bergevin with the Chicago Blackhawks during Bergevin’s years as their Pro Scout and Assistant General Manager. If stacking the team with ex-Hawks is the plan in Montreal, Ladd signing there is a distinct possibility.
Standing in the way of this signing are future cap concerns for when Carey Price‘s extension is due in 2018. Also, the fact that the Habs are far from a lock to make noise in the playoffs.
Toronto Maple Leafs
After missing out on Stamkos, the Leafs will be throwing money at guys left, right and centre. While they aren’t cup contenders by any means, the money they’re willing to spend might be enough to make Ladd’s eyes light up.
It’s unlikely that they don’t sign somebody on July 1. The only question here is whether that guy is Andrew Ladd or not.
Never say never right? General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff has said that the door remains open for an Andrew Ladd return, though this reunion is more of a pipe dream than reality. The Jets are a budget team and don’t project to be contenders next season. They have a deep, young forward pool, leaving little-to-no room for their ex-captain. Both sides are better off without the other.
Cap information courtesy of General Fanager. Quotes from the Winnipeg Free Press, Winnipeg Sun, Twitter, and Sportsnet.
Main Photo: WINNIPEG, MB – NOVEMBER 2: Andrew Ladd #16 of the Winnipeg Jets skates down the ice during second period action of an NHL game against the Chicago Blackhawks at the MTS Centre on November 2, 2013 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Marianne Helm/Getty Images)