Report: Jets, Andrew Ladd engaged in preliminary contract extension talks

Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports

The Winnipeg Jets have engaged team captain Andrew Ladd in contract extension talks, according to a report from Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston

Though the negotiations are preliminary in nature, it makes a good deal of sense that Winnipeg would want to keep the 29-year-old power forward in the fold. In addition to his snarly physical game and solid two-way abilities, Ladd is a bona fide top-line winger who has contributed at least 50 points in every season since joining the franchise back in 2010-11. 

The negotiations are expected to move swiftly, and the deal that Ladd signs is going to be mammoth according to Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press:

This won’t drag out. It will be fast and it will be big.

Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown recently signed an eight-year contract worth $47 million, with a cap hit and average annual value of $5,875,000. Ladd is a year younger and has been the better player the last few seasons. He continues to trend up and had a career-high 62 points last season. Brown’s production (27 points over a full 82-game schedule) has dropped off.

The Brown contract is too long and too rich. But it will be a discussion point in negotiations between the Jets and Ladd’s representatives.

In addition to Brown, Lawless lists R.J. Umberger, David Backes, Eric Staal and Ryan Callahan as potential comparables for Ladd. It’s an odd group, with wildly divergent pay grades. In terms of production though, Ladd is second only to Staal in that group. 

Looking at Ladd’s production over the past three seasons, he’s actually in the top-50 among NHL players in points per game rate. Based on his rates of production and usage, I’d argue that his real comparables are fellow left wingers Marian Hossa and Patrick Marleau. Both Marleau and Hossa are salaried well in excess of $7 million.(*)

(*) Hossa’s deal has a lower annual average value than $7 million thanks to the cheater years tacked on at the end. If we take the eight highest salaried years of his deal though, his cap-hit would be at $7.4125 million.

It’s generally advisable to avoid committing too much term to a player that plays a grinding, physical style and is about to turn 30-years-old. The market is going to set the price here though, and anything below about $7.5 million would represent a significant hometown discount.