The Winnipeg Jets dodged a huge bullet when they didn’t retain Andrew Ladd. Trading Ladd to the Chicago Blackhawks at the trade deadline was an addition via subtraction move and gave the Jets more dollar to think with in the coming years
Ladd was simply asking for too much in every aspect of his contract demands. The term, dollar and everything surrounding giving 6 more years to Captain Ladd didn’t make sense for the Jets. That being said, obviously the Jets would’ve preferred to not part from Ladd, the team’s captain since the team relocated to Winnipeg in 2011 was an integral component to the team on and off the ice. But pages need to be turned and team’s need to move on at certain points and this summer was the time to make that move.
The New York Islanders signed Ladd to a 7 year, 38.5 million dollar contract this past offseason and with the Jets not committing that kind of dollar to Ladd, they’ve saved themselves big time down the road.
The Jets are quite deep throughout the organization at left wing. The young talent the Jets have on the left side that are some of the best up and coming talent in the league. Tt’s their time to shine and opportunity needs to be provided to them. If the team had retained Ladd, it would have cogged up a spot and stunted the growth of one of their NHL-ready youngsters. Along with that, those players are going to be commanding pretty high dollar in the coming years and if the Jets had signed Ladd, one of those young wingers would have likely become a casualty.
Jets left wings due for raises not so far down the road
Nikolaj Ehlers RW/LW (RFA in 2018-2019)
Patrik Laine RW/LW (RFA in 2019-2020)
Kyle Connor (RFA in 2019-2020)
Brendan Lemieux (RFA in 2019-2020)
It’s all but a guarantee at least two or maybe even three out of Ehlers, Laine and Connor will receive pretty hefty raises when their current contracts are up. Brendan Lemieux is a wild card as well as he could start in a fourth line role but work his way in to a valued middle six power forward. At least for the foreseeable future, the Jets aren’t going to be spending up against the cap and with that said, they wouldn’t want Ladd’s contract to be restricting them from signing one of their promising youngsters or someone else on the free agency market.
Winnipeg just locked up number one centre Mark Scheifele to a 8 year 49 million dollar deal along with the potential of another mega-deal with defenseman Jacob Trouba. Whatever contract Trouba signs ( if that happens ) will likely be a lucrative one. In the likely scenario Laine evolves in to the superstar we all think he can become quite quickly, his contract is going be pricey.
It all adds up.
Money isn’t tight in Winnipeg, but there isn’t a surplus of cap space available and in an era that is dominated by the salary cap, there are only so many long term deals you can hand out to players. In reality, Ladd is now a second line maybe even third line forward. The 30 year old forward wasn’t worth a long term investment.
Trading Ladd was never highly criticized, it became apparent throughout the year that if the Jets were going to pick between Byfuglien and Ladd for long term contracts ( as they both desired ) Byfuglien was the more wise and cost efficient option.
As the new year approaches, the Jets are better in a few ways but in particular they are better for not making the mistake of retaining Andrew Ladd. That opens up one more spot for an exciting rookie to take and prevents a headache for the Jets management and their fans in the not so distant future.