Our final match of the first round of the Jets Nation Fan Favorite Tournament pits the two captains of the Jets 2.0 era against each other as it’s the first captain Andrew Ladd going up against his successor, Blake Wheeler.
Both Andrew Ladd and Blake Wheeler were members of the Atlanta Thrashers when they moved north to Winnipeg in the summer of 2011.
Ladd had just been traded to Atlanta a season earlier after having won a Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks which was the second of his career. He was named the Thrashers captain for their final season in Atlanta and those duties carried over to Winnipeg and he became one of the first faces associated with the club along with ‘flashier’ players such as Evander Kane and Dustin Byfuglien.
Ladd was an offensive leader for the Jets in their first few seasons, topping the 20 goal mark during three full seasons in Winnipeg and in the lockout shortened 2012-13 season, he had 18 goals in 48 games played. As good as he was offensively, he also was very good in his own end of the ice and frequently garnered Selke trophy consideration as one of the league’s bet defensive forwards.
He was so good that in the 2015-16 season – the final year of his contract – the Jets faced an issue on wither or not to give their 30 year old captain a new and significantly higher value deal or if they were going to trade him to continue on with the youth movement the team had embarked on. At the 2016 trade deadline, they made their choice by making the tough call of trading their captain to Chicago.
The following summer, the Jets named Blake Wheeler the new captain of the team.
Wheeler had also joined the Thrashers in their final season in Atlanta as he was traded from the Bruins along with Mark Stuart. Wheeler had already established himself in his first few years with Boston as a solid two-way depth forward, but as a member of the Jets he found a new level in his game becoming a consistent 20+ goal scorer. In essence he was becoming the same type of player that Andrew Ladd had been. Wheeler had served as an assistant captain under Ladd, and once Ladd had been traded, Wheeler assumed the responsibility and appeared to be a more vocal and demonstrative leader for the club.
Blake Wheeler after Patrik Laine scored on his own net. Awesome. pic.twitter.com/1KI74uMurP
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) December 12, 2016
Great Moments In Ladd History
Great Moments In Wheeler History
TIME TO VOTE!
Everyone remembers their first, but it’s the second that’s been just a little bit better. Which one is your favorite?
It's the final match-up in the first round of our Fan Favorite Tournament and it's a big one! A battle of #NHLJets 2.0 captains. Who ya got as your favorite?
— JetsNation (@NHLJetsNation) August 11, 2018