On February 25th 2016, the Winnipeg Jets 2.0 traded the only captain they have ever known. The Jets traded Andrew Ladd, Jay Harrison and Matt Fraser to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Marko Dano, a first round draft pick in 2016 and a conditional 2018 draft pick. The deal did not catch fans by surprise, seeing as the Jets and Ladd were at a stalemate for quite some time with contract negotiations and it didn’t make sense for the Jets to retain Ladd for another six+ years.
Now with Ladd’s season over with the Blackhawks, we can fully digest and break down the deal that sent the captain packing.
Who won this deal?
It’s a pretty straight forward answer; Winnipeg won the deal. The Jets knew they weren’t going to retain Ladd and they had to find the best deal possible. They also had to work with the market they were given, teams weren’t going to give up the entire farm for a player like Andrew Ladd, especially if he was only going to serve as a rental for them. Cheveldayoff garnered back quite the return considering the asset he was dangling.
The Jets got a highly coveted prospect within the Hawks organization in Marko Dano. Dano showed flashes of skill and the potential he has while finishing out the year with Winnipeg, recording 8 points in 21 games ( 3 points came in his final 4 games). He adds another promising youngster to the deep pool of prospects the Jets already have.
The acquisition of the Hawks first round pick was also an impressive catch, as well. With the Jets likely to land a superstar in Patrik Laine and with their need in other areas, the pick they acquired from Chicago could serve as trade bait. If the Jets elect to keep the pick, they’ll have a second consecutive season of picking twice in the first round.
The Jets also win by not retaining Ladd at an exceptional price.
With Kyle Connor and (potentially) Patrik Laine coming in to the fold and looking to make big impacts in the next 1-2 years, the Jets are well off on the left side. Retaining Ladd on a 6+ year at 6 or more million dollar contract would’ve been a regret not even half way through the contract. Trading him and getting a package like this one was the best case scenario.
Many criticized Cheveldayoff for waiting to trade Ladd until the deadline (including myself). Many were worried that with Ladd’s production declining, the market for Ladd would sour. Cheveldayoff held out and did his due diligence with the negotiation process with Ladd, in lieu of such the Jets were able to pry a team like Chicago who was hungry for there third cup in the Toews and Kane era, to overpay for Ladd just before the trade deadline.
Ladd was impressive for the Hawks in the 19 regular seasons he played, notching 12 points in 19 games. But as the playoffs rolled around, his impact minimized and he finished the first round series against the Blues with 2 points, in 7 games.
Ladd’s contributions weren’t substantial and with him likely walking in Free agency, Chicago will have to head back to the drawing board and find replacements for there departing players. One would have to think that Marko Dano would have been thrusted in to a larger role for Chicago if he wasn’t traded. Giving up the first round draft pick hurts the Hawks as that is a missed opportunity to add a talented prospect to their relatively thin prospect pool.
This Blackhawks core won’t be dominant for much longer, young talent and development is still essential to a team of the Hawks current success. You’ve got to always plan for the future.
In hindsight, mortgaging the future for Ladd wasn’t the smartest call by Stan Bowman. Bowman and the Hawks had hoped Ladd could add a big boost to the club with his playoff experience and familiarity with the organization.
But it didn’t work out.
The Jets walk away from the deal being right on track with there blueprint of building towards the future. They turned the page on one of the faces of the franchise, to go in a younger direction. They saved themselves from an offer they’d regret in the future and acquired two prime assets.
It’s not even close.