The start of the 2016-17 Islanders season seems like forever ago, remember that period of 26 games where Andrew Ladd hadn’t scored a single goal? Well, he’s on the verge of hitting 20 now.
After that terrible start to the season, who thought that Andrew Ladd would be one shy of 20 goals with Islanders and still have 13 games to play?
It took him 13 games before putting in his first goal of the season against the Vancouver Canucks at the Barclays Center. And then quickly put in another against Tampa Bay a few days later. Isles fans had waited but maybe that $5.5 million man had finally shown up.
It took some time to adjust, that’s acceptable, now get to producin’. We all thought, unfortunately.
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Ladd went another seven games before producing another point, and ten games before getting his third goal of the season.
That’s 23 games into the season before getting his third goal. At that pace, he’d have 11 by the end of the 2016-17 campaign.
That not at all what the Islanders wanted from a guy they were giving John Tavares money to for the next seven years.
But slowly the gap between goals and production started to shorten. At the end of December, Ladd went on a little scoring binge, scoring four goals in the span of four games.
Then, shortly before Capuano was given the axe, it came out that Ladd might have been nursing a back injury since the summer. He sat out games against Boston, Dallas, LA, and Philly in order to rest and get back to 100%.
Since coming back from that short break, Ladd has scored eleven goals in 24 games played. Outstanding considering where he was, production wise, come the start of the season.
Was that all it took a few days off to rest to get back into things? Imagine if that was done sooner. Say middle of November, we might very well be looking at a 30 goal scorer here.
What Does 20 Mean?
I’ll be honest, 20 goals is still underwhelming considering how much the Islanders are paying Andrew Ladd for his services. And there’s no reason that at the end of the season they, both Ladd and the Islanders, can be content with the outcome.
But what this does mean, to me at least, is that Andrew Ladd isn’t some broken asset that the Isles were goaded into buying because the pressure was on.
Hitting 20 tells me he still has some value as a player. This by no means indicates that Andrew Ladd is worth what he’s being paid. But, assuming he doesn’t have the same issues, such as injury, to start the 2017-18 season, I think we might see the real Andrew Ladd.
It’s unfortunate we had to wait this long to catch a glimpse of the player the Isles spent big money on in the offseason. Hopefully, he continues his current goal scoring pace to close out this season and to start out the next one.