Islanders: Could Andrew Ladd have played his last NHL game?
With the suspension of the season, it’s possible that we’ve seen the last of a number of players in the NHL. Could one be New York Islanders Andrew Ladd?
The Athletics James Mirtle (subscription required) put together a list of 15 NHL players that could very well retire come the end of the season (whenever that might be). One of the 15 players on his list is New York Islanders forward Andrew Ladd.
Mirtle sources players, NHL teams, and other NHL reporters from The Athletic when he came up with this list. So Andrew Ladd makes the cut for a reason.
Looking back at 2019-20, it’s easy to see why Mirtle (and others) might come to the conclusion that Andrew Ladd could very well be done.
He Isn’t Playing, but That Contract Though
Through 68 games in 2019-20, Andrew Ladd played a total of four games. That’s it, just four. He spent the majority of the season in the AHL playing 34 games for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Add in the 26 games he played for the Islanders in 2018-19 and Ladd has played less than half a season over the last two years.
That lack of playing time is largely due to injuries. The 34-year-old has had issues with his back as well as a torn ACL he picked up last season. And it’s not likely to get much better for Ladd in the years to come.
So is he done?
I’m not sure, It’s clear that Ladd still wants to play and he still has a few years left on his contract.
With that being said, it’s clear that he isn’t in the Islander’s plans going forward. Which is why Lou Lamoriello tried to trade the veteran at the last trade deadline. I imagine Lou tries to do the same in the offseason (whenever that is).
Going into 2020-21, you have to think the Islanders find a way to incorporate Kieffer Bellows on the third line. Putting Ladd’s spot on the roster in jeopardy. If the Isles can’t find a taker for Ladd they could keep him on LTIR and take the extra space his deal gives them (assuming they hit the cap ceiling).
What they can’t do is buy out his contract. That contract is about as “buyout proof” as can be. By buying out his contract the Islanders would save $666,667 for three years before being on the hook for $333,333 for the next three years.
I think Ladd’s time with the Islanders is over. There isn’t going to be any room for him going forward. This means he faces one of three options, (1) be placed on LTIR for the foreseeable future, (2) be sent to the AHL, or (3) be traded to a team that could use him.
He could retire, but again, I believe he still wants to play.
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We’ve already seen that he’s willing to go down the trade route. I’m sure Lou gets more aggressive this summer to move him. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Andrew Ladd in the NHL. Heck, if the NHL comes back to conclude the 2019-20 season he will be back on the ice wearing orange and blue.