July 12, 2020

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The Whiteboard: The pros and cons of trading for Ladd

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 25/2/2016 (1598 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

He’s been the face of the franchise ever since the return of the Winnipeg Jets for the 2011-12 NHL season. Fast-forward to present day and Andrew Ladd, who has held the title of captain for all 391 games of the Jets 2.0 existence, is once again standing centre stage. Only this time, it’s under much different circumstances.

With Ladd set to hit the open market this summer and the fact he’s unlikely to reach a deal that would see him in a Jets uniform next season, the 30-year-old has garnered a lot of attention heading into Monday’s NHL trade deadline. For opposing general managers looking to add any final pieces to their roster, Ladd, a two-time Stanley Cup winner, is surely a viable option. It’s because of this we’ve dedicated the fifth episode of The Whiteboard with J.P. Vigier to taking a close look at the pros and cons of landing Ladd.

john woods / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS files</p><p>Andrew Ladd's rugged two-way play is appreciated by GMs.

john woods / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS files

Andrew Ladd's rugged two-way play is appreciated by GMs.

The pros

As mentioned, Ladd is a winner. He’s been a part of two championship runs, winning the Cup with Carolina in 2006 and again as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010. He’s been in the trenches and fought those tough playoff battles on the ice. You can’t put a price tag on what that kind of experience brings to a locker-room.

He’s also versatile. He can play a checking role against an opponent’s top line, or as a complementary piece to a team’s top six. When Ladd is at the top of his game, he’s moving his feet, getting in on the forecheck, and being very physical.

He’s a good decision-maker. One of the reasons Ladd led the Jets in points last season was because of his ability to make plays under pressure. He doesn’t take a lot of time with the puck on his stick. When he gets the puck, he’s able to read the play and judge effectively whether to let go a quick wrist-shot or make a pass.

Ladd is a leader. There’s a lot more to being a captain in the NHL than wearing a C on your chest. It also means keeping the bench in line, bringing that energy each and every night and dealing with all the things a captain deals with behind the scenes. He’s a groomed professional, something that can’t be underestimated.

Cons

It’s no secret that at times this season Ladd has struggled to find his game. A common slight against him is his penchant for taking stick penalties. This happens when he’s caught lunging into a battle, which means he’s not moving his feet and using his body to separate his opponent from the puck. It also means he has little control over his stick, resulting in a higher risk of being called for a high-sticking or tripping penalty.

Another issue is with his play in the defensive zone when he’s the first man back. Sometimes as a winger — I too was guilty of this — we like to protect our spot in the slot and on the high boards. When we get down low, it’s a little bit more uncomfortable because there’s more switches, there’s more ice to cover. Being on the wing, you don’t get to practise that role quite as much, making it easy to look out of place when put in that position.

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