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New York Islanders Andrew Ladd Could Be Good for Line Three

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 28: Andrew Ladd #16 of the New York Islanders skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum on February 28, 2019 in Uniondale City. The Islanders defeated the Maple Leafs 6-1. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 28: Andrew Ladd #16 of the New York Islanders skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum on February 28, 2019 in Uniondale City. The Islanders defeated the Maple Leafs 6-1. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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New York Islanders forward Andrew Ladd has been upgraded from a no-contact jersey to a regular sweater at practice. If he’s healthy, he can be a good fit on the third line.

Look I know, Andrew Ladd isn’t anyone’s favorite New York Islanders player. His massive $5.5 million AAV for the next four years and little production makes him public enemy number one.

In his time with the Islanders, Ladd has played 177 games over three years and scored 38 goals and 71 points. That’s just not good enough for a player pulling $5.5 million on average per season.

We’re going to have to get used to the fact that Andrew Ladd will never live up to that seven-year $38.5 million contract he was given in free agency from former GM Garth Snow.

But a healthy Andrew Ladd could be a good addition to the Islanders struggling third line.

Try Positivity

When healthy, Andrew Ladd can be an effective depth player. After sitting out a few games in the 2016-17 season, the veteran winger came back and was a good option down the roster for the Islanders.

Before sitting out he had eight goals and four assists in 41 games. In the following 37 games, Ladd scored 15 goals and four assists.

Of course, that was three years and a million injuries ago. But if Andrew Ladd is right physically he can be an effective depth player for the Islanders. In the 26 games he played last season he scoerd eleven points. A pace of 35 points over a full 82 game season.

Again, not great, but that’s an OK return for a third-line player.

Potential Forward Lines

Ideally, with Andrew Ladd now healthy, the Islanders will set up their lines with Ladd taking Josh Bailey‘s spot on the third line and place Bailey up on the first line instead of Tom Kuhnhackl.

Lee-Barzal-Bailey
Beauvillier-Nelson-Dal Colle
Ladd-Brassard-Wahlstrom
Kuhnhackl-Komarov-Clutterbuck

(This lineup assumes that Jordan Eberle and Casey Cizikas remain on IR and that Cole Bardreau is sent back to the AHL.)

The first line gets a full complement of offensive players with Josh Bailey taking Jordan Eberle‘s spot. There’s nothing wrong with Tom Kuhnhackl having a place on this roster, but it can’t be in an offensive role. That was abundantly clear against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Having Kuhnhackl on a forechecking line with Komarov and Clutterbuck is a good fit for him and the team. His speed and defensive instinct fit well with what that line is asked to do.

Line two remains unchanged because Barry Trotz is in no mood to change it. Line three, now with Andrew Ladd as it’s LW has a player that is typically stronger down along the boards than Bailey and Derick Brassard. That’s a good fit for a line that is asked to do a lot of work in the defensive zone.

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I know that Andrew Ladd is making a ton of money, and I know that he hasn’t lived up to that compensation. And I’m trying to be positive. But when healthy, he’s still a good depth player for the New York Islanders to use in order to maximize the output from their lineup.

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