Report: Jets turn attention to re-signing Byfuglien, not Ladd

It appears there’s been a drastic turn of events in the Ladd-Byfuglien contract talks saga.

At the beginning of the season, it was almost certain the Winnipeg Jets were more interested in re-signing their captain Andrew Ladd and dealing all-star defenceman Dustin Byfuglien before the trade deadline.

Well, the tables have apparently turned.

Elliotte Friedman first reported on the weekend the Jets have turned their focus from re-signing Ladd to now inking Byfuglien to a long-term deal.

“The word everyone seems to be getting is they’re going to take a real run at trying to sign him (Byfuglien),” Friedman said during Hockey Night in Canada’s Headlines segment on Saturday.

The Jets are nine points out of a playoff spot heading into action Monday night and the likelihood the team makes a surge in the second half of the season seems unrealistic. 

As TSN hockey writer and former Jets beat reporter Gary Lawless puts it, Winnipeg must make a decision on Ladd and make a decision very soon.

From TSN.ca:

Somewhere between the NHL draft last summer and now, the business relationship between Ladd and the Jets soured. Now it has infected the personal and the hockey relationship between a proud captain and his organization. Maybe at 30 he’s beginning to fade. Or maybe he’s still healing. Circumstances don’t allow for the Jets to wait this out. They need to make a call on Ladd in the next five weeks.

Ladd is looking for a long-term deal in the ballpark of $6 million per season. Based on the captain’s production this season — 10 goals and 27 points in 48 games — there’s a better chance of winning the powerball lottery than Winnipeg handing Ladd that kind of money.

Players like Brandon Saad set the bar high in the off-season when the winger signed a six-year extension with the Columbus Blue Jackets worth $36 million. You can make the argument Ladd’s numbers have been stronger over the course of time — including his career year in 2014-15 when he scored 24 goals and 62 points in leading the Jets to the post-season.

But the truth is Ladd will be will be 31 in December and his best years may already be behind him.

Byfuglien on the other hand may walk away like a bandit when all is said and done. The soon-to-be UFA has reportedly been in talks with Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff as both camps look to hammer out a new deal sooner than later.

While Ladd’s production has dropped off, it’s been the opposite for Big Buff, who has 12 goals and 26 points in 48 games played. Byfuglien will also be 31 this year so handing out big bucks on a longer-term deal will be the sticking point in negotiations.

If the two sides can’t come to an agreement, it’s not crazy to think both Ladd and Byfuglien could be available at the Feb. 29 NHL trade deadline.

Either way, the next few weeks should be interesting in Jets Land.

  • #12MorrisLukowich

    The damage has been done. Chevy, by letting his FA’s walk, not having proper NHL assistants, stubbornly unwilling to bring in good FA’s, going off the wall and drafting borderline talent, keeps proving, over & over that he’s an inadequate NHL GM. His team is in total disarray…I don’t know why Chipman resigned this guy for another 5 years without having him prove he was able…but maybe this is all Chipman’s doing…maybe it’s his hand that’s quietly rocking the boat because in the 5 years+ since Chevy has taken over I see no improvement… and the “growing pains” the talking heads keep referring to are now in their 5th year and are almost getting too painful to watch…GO MOOSE !

  • FishWhiskey

    Brandon Saad is 23. Andrew Ladd is 30. Who do you think is going to give the best bang for the buck over the next 6 years? Love me some Ladd but he and his agent had best get real about his true “value”given his age and the usual permenent drop in productivity that comes after a sports hernia. Funny how all these guys are team players until it comes time to drop a “boat anchor” contract on their team.

  • FishWhiskey

    I wonder how Ladd feels now about playing all those games last year when he was injured?
    By his own admission he has made progress this year but still is not 100%. Here is a guy who said he was willing to play out until the end in the Peg’

    …you knew something was up early on this season when he wasn’t resigned … So what’s the deal; injury/term/captaincy/PoMo/Chipman, who knows?

    Something has over ripened and it is starting to smell bad for True North.

    • FishWhiskey

      Well thank god he played injured in the playoffs because he was amazing lol. Never understood that rationale… I get they want to play but we’re better off with a so-so healthy player than a good one at 30%.