Three years later, we take a look at the New York Islanders’ decision to pay Andrew Ladd vs Kyle Okposo. It’s a no-win situation in 2019-2020.
Looking back, the July 2016 Free Agent Class was a major flop. With long-term contracts given out to Milan Lucic, Andrew Ladd, Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen, and David Backes this free agency class is one of the more disappointing in recent memory. The Islanders, unfortunately, were very involved in this class.
They gave Andrew Ladd a seven-year $38.5 million contract. With an AAV at $5.5 million, the thought was that he was brought in to play alongside John Tavares. That lasted all but two-weeks.
He was quickly demoted off that line but he still put up 23 goals with the Islanders that year. It was a disappointment, but it wasn’t an utter disaster. Well, disaster struck in 2017 when he finished with 29 points (12 goals, 17 assists) in 73 games.
It got worse after just 26 games played last year. This year, he has let to play in the NHL and injuries are once again derailing Ladd in his fourth year with the club.
Comparatively though, the two main guys the Islanders let walk, Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen haven’t been much better with their new teams.
Okposo is due to miss time again after yet another concussion. He signed for seven-years also but his AAV was $6 million, $500,000 more per year than Ladd. In his first two years, he was okay putting up 43 and 44 points with Buffalo.
Year three was a major step back with just 29 points in 78 games, and he had just five points in the 19 games played before the injury. At the time of the contract, Okposo deserved more money than Ladd that was a given.
He averaged .70 points per game in his career with the Islanders, which was the most between Ladd, Nielsen, and himself. Since the switch to Buffalo, he is averaging .52 points per game.
Ladd went from a .61 PPG to a .40 PPG pace over his career with the Islanders. He is averaging the lowest PPG rate with his new team, while Nielsen saw the least amount of regression from .58 to .44.
When it comes down to it, the choice between Okposo and Ladd was a complicated one. Both have underachieved, been injured, and have their future career in question now. So while it’s easy to pick on the Ladd contract, it’s a bad one, the Isles wouldn’t have been much better off giving Oksoso a seven-year deal.
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Free agency is a crapshoot, you’re better off building through the draft and trades while using free agency to supplement your roster with smaller pieces.