Thursday, November 14, 2019

Andrew Ladd Autographed Card

A two-time Stanley Cup winner (2006, Carolina Hurricanes; 2010 Chicago Blackhawks), 33-year-old former NHL captain (Atlanta Thrashers 2010-11; Winnipeg Jets 2011-16), Andrew Ladd, was placed on waiver today. Expectations are that he'll clear and be assigned to the AHL, but what the future holds for him is anybody's guess.

How did we get here?

Former GM Garth Snow made a bet that Ladd, coming off of three straight 20-goal seasons and not withstanding the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, five straight 20-goal seasons, would bring additional leadership and a winning pedigree to a team that captain John Tavares was having trouble establishing as a major player despite a strong defense and credible All-World-level goaltending.

In his first season on Long Island, Ladd did score 23 goals, but he only added 8 assists for 31 points in what looked like a clear downward spiral, on a team that never knows where it'll play the following season.

He might ne overpaid at $5.5M for the next three and a half years, and he may never reach the 20-goal plateau again, but he still knows how to play hockey. If the Isles bought him out next summer, another team might pick him up at the league minimum to play on their third or fourth line; it's not like he forgot how to play, but he is slower than he used to be and can no longer keep up with the young high-end talent in the offensive zone, yet he's learned enough tricks and is smart and hard-nosed enough to still play a decent defensive game.

Maybe he now realizes he should have accepted a diminishing role with the Jets to remain a key part of a Cup-contending team instead of a depth part on a playoff hopeful.

I can't say he doesn't look like a hockey player wearing the Isles' white (now-away) uniform, though:
That's card #272 from Upper Deck's 2017-18 O-Pee-Chee set, which he signed in blue sharpie in early 2018 in Montréal.

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