JN Air Mail: Ladd, Lowry & Underrated Prospects

JNAirMail

It’s the return of a segment you barely knew existed!

We take your questions off of Twitter and Facebook and after giving it some serious thought for at least two full minutes, we give you answers in a segment we call Jets Nation Air Mail!

This week we ponder a contract proposal for Andrew Ladd, bemoan Mark Stuart, wish for a division transfer and more!

There are a few instances that make me question the front office staff’s ability to asses what they really have in terms of talent. Stuart still getting ice time on a nightly basis is one of the main ones.

Mark Stuart is perhaps the biggest sign of proof that the Jets haven’t embraced the hockey analytics movement that the league started catching onto last season which should be a tad worrisome if you’re a fan. Stuart’s numbers (as we’ve covered here) are not good and even if you go with just the good ‘ol fashioned “eye test” to base your opinion on, there are too many examples this season alone of where Stuart has been caught trying to step up for a big hit and missed.

He continues to have a spot on the lineup because he is big and can hit and is a “leader” in the dressing room.

And yes, that does make me question not only if this club can properly evaluate talent, but if it just chooses to ignore the signs that there may be better options (and players) available.

I would. No hesitation at all.

He’s been a constant 20 goal, 50+ point player for the last five seasons and this season even after his slow start he’s projecting to be a 20+ goal and 50+ point player again.

Brandon Saad has put up those kinds of numbers just twice and managed to get a deal that only pays him 4 million this season, but will ramp up to 6.75 million for two seasons starting in 2018-19 right about the time he turns 26. Wayne Simmonds has hovered around with Ladd-like numbers and has a contract of 6 years just a shade under 4 million per year.

Ryan Callahan would be the guy I’d compare Ladd to the most being that his numbers and age are the closest to Ladd. Ryan is going to make 6.4 million this season and 6.5 mil the next two seasons after that.

So 6.5 million per year for 5 years I would think is very reasonable for Ladd. Perhaps you front load the contract a bit so that in the 4th and 5th years of the deal you’re not paying as much, but I would do that deal in a heartbeat.

But in about six months time he has a chance to be one a prize free agent and there might be a team willing to overpay 6.5 million. So maybe the question is would Andrew Ladd take that deal?

On a scale of 1 to 10, my wish for the Jets to be in the Pacific division would be at a 13.

There is a reason people call it “The Goddamn Central Division” (I know, I’m the only one who does this, but it should be something everyone calls it) and its likely that a very good team that would make the playoffs as a top three team in the Pacific division will miss out in the Central because the first five spots will have been filled (1 to 3 in the division, then the two wild card spots by the 4th and 5th place team)

Mark my words, that is what is going to happen this season. 6th place in the Central will have enough points to qualify for 3rd in the Pacific and that team will be the Jets because of course it will be.

Not to mention, the Jets would get more games against the likes of the Oilers and Flames and less against teams like the Blackhawks and Stars.

Where do we sign up?

Couple things about Adam Lowry who is still without a goal 27 games into the season.

He’s clocking 13:39 average ice time this season which is only six second less than what he averaged last year but where his numbers are being hurt is where he’s starting on the ice.

Last season Adam’s percentage of offensive zone starts compared to defensive zone starts was at 54.81% where as this season it’s at 49.71%. Adam has had 87 offensive zone starts this season and if you were to project that over 84 games he’d only end up with 261 offensive zone starts which is well short of the 324 OZS he had all of last season.

His numbers this time last year weren’t exactly great either. As of December 7 of 2014 Lowry only had 2 goals and an assist. He also wasn’t seeing that much ice time until injuries started piling up for the Jets in December.

This year, the Jets have been injury free and he’s playing mostly on a line with Andrew Copp and Anthony Peluso – so he doesn’t exactly have the kind of talent he had with him like he did a year ago when he was on a line with Michael Frolik and Evander Kane.

If he keeps playing the way he is in Red Deer, I don’t think he will be underrated for much longer, but the Jets got an absolute steal in the 4th round of this year’s draft when they picked Michael Spacek who had been playing for HC Dynamo Pardubice of the Czech Extraliga before joining the Red Deer Rebels for this current season where he’s been a bit better than a point per game player (10 goals, 29 points in 28 games played)

He’s agile, has pretty good hands is a bit on the smaller side at 5′ 11″ but doesn’t wilt away under physical play.

He still may be a season or two away from getting a serious chance at the Winnipeg Jets roster, but his future looks very good.


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    • Mack Irwin

      That’s a good question.

      Players like Ladd and Byfuglien don’t often get traded at the deadline. Especially Ladd, as the captain of the team. But if the Jets are out of the playoff hunt and know that they aren’t going to be able to re-sign one or both of them, who knows.

      Some deadline deals for rentals of a (roughly) a similar level to Ladd and Byfuglien: Gaborik went for Matt Frattin, a second, and a third in 14. Hossa and Dupuis went for two players, a prospect, and a first in 08. Brad Richards went for Jussi Jokinen, Jeff Halpern, a fourth, and Mike Smith in 08 as well. Thomas Vanek and a fifth went for Sebastian Collberg and a second in 14.

      So if the return is anything like the two 2014 deals, it’s made up of at least two pieces: a decent-to-good prospect and a third-to-first round pick. Maybe another pick in there, too. Who knows about roster players.

      Point is? You probably aren’t getting as much value back as you do from having Buff or Ladd on the roster. If you deal them at the deadline, expect to be underwhelmed by the return. Still better than losing them for nothing, though.

  • X

    Lowry’s issue is not just deployment, watching him play in the DZ he is spending too much time standing still. Situations where last season he would take a pass he would already have momentum carrying him out of the zone he is instead standing still.

    One of the things I think most people miss about Lowry is that he is actually a pretty fast skater, but slow to get going. Instead of turning up ice and getting over the red line he is forced to either dump out or pass early, given his current linemates (no offense intended to Copp, who I love) that pass usually does not end much better than the dump out.

    I think a lot of this has to do with linemates, you are just not going to be able to get the same results this season if 70+% of your 5v5 minutes last season were with one of Frolik, Perreault, or Evander Kane.