The Andrew Ladd contract is downright atrocious but so is the Leo Komarov deal. We’ll talk about both and how they affect the New York Islanders.
While Lou Lamoriello was, and still is, a fantastic hire for the New York Islanders he isn’t without flaw. Arguably the biggest mistake he’s made so far is giving Leo Komarov a four-year $12 million contract.
July 1, 2018, is a day that will live on in Islanders infamy. They lost John Tavares in free agency, that’s the biggest takeaway from that fateful day this past summer. In addition to that Lou Lamoriello brought in a familiar face from Toronto, Leo Komarov.
On top of giving the 31-year-old a four-year deal, there was also a modified no-trade clause added to the deal. Komarov can submit a list of seven teams that he can’t be traded to and Lou Lamoriello has to oblige to it.
When Lou joined the Islanders he wasn’t without bad contracts, one of the historically bad ones was Andrew Ladd. Going into this season, he had five years left at $5.5 million per year against the cap.
Ladd, whose season just came to an end due to an ACL tear, is right up there with Leo Komarov for the two worst deals on the team.
The Case for Komarov
If this was 2016, Leo Komarov at $3 million per year isn’t bad at all. In 2015-2016 he had 36 points (19 goals, 17 assists) while in 2016-2017 he had 32 points (14 goals, 18 assists). Last year that dropped to 19 points, not nearly enough to justify giving a 31-year-old a four year deal.
If the Islanders were able to put Leo Komarov on the fourth line this deal wouldn’t be nearly as bad, but with the Martin – Cizikas – Clutterbuck line reunited Komarov has essentially been playing on the third line all year.
24 points isn’t a good return for a third line player. In addition, his faceoff percentage has plummetted to 41.6 percent and his Corsi for percentage is a career low 43.5 percent.
What makes matters even worse is that he’s notorious for taking what I’ve deemed “The Veteran Leadership Penalty”. That’s a penalty from a veteran, who really should know better, that comes late in the third period. More specifically, while trailing in the third period.
His one redeeming quality is that he’s decent on the penalty kill. Is that enough to give him $3 million over four years, a modified NTC, and third line minutes? Absolutely not.
Komarov is signed through his age 35 season and will likely play on the third line for a majority of that time.
The Case For Ladd
Seven-years $38.5 million couldn’t have been spent in a worse way. Andrew Ladd has been downright terrible for the Islanders. In his first season he put up just 31 points, the goals were there but he only had eight assists on the season.
He followed that up with a regression to 29 points and only 12 goals last season. The Isles were scoring like crazy last year and he only mustered up 12 goals, that in itself is almost impressive. Then this year he only played in 26 games before an ACL injury sidelined him for the year.
With four more years left on this deal at $5.5 million, the Islanders are in bad shape. Like Komarov, Ladd is likely locked into the third line. He’s 33-year-old now with a very small chance of getting back to the player he once was.
The only hope is that the Islanders pull some crazy move when Seattle comes into the league and they can convince them to trade for Ladd to get to the cap floor. Other than that he, like Komarov, will be here for the foreseeable future.
Which Is Worse?
The Ladd deal has to be the worst of the two, as much as I don’t like Komarov’s deal. There’s no denying that Ladd being here for the next four years at $5.5 million is going to provide some issues even with the salary cap going up.
The only way out for the Islanders is if Andrew Ladd retires. If not, they genuinely may be forced to healthy scratch him next year in favor of Michael Dal Colle.