Islanders Andrew Ladd looks ready for play-in round opportunity

Andrew Ladd #16 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Andrew Ladd #16 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

New York Islanders veteran Andrew Ladd looks ready to step into the squad and perform.

Ever since he was signed to a massive seven-year $38.5 million deal ($5.5 million AAV) in the summer of 2016, Andrew Ladd has had a rough go with the New York Islanders.

In that first 2016-17 season, the thought was that the two-time Stanley Cup winner would play alongside John Tavares to give the Isles former captain that top-line winger he’d always needed. But by November that was no longer the case.

By November 7th, 2016, Ladd was playing on the Isles fourth line. November 7th was also the day Ladd scored his first goal and second point for the Islanders.

It didn’t look like the big free-agent acquisition was going to pan out.

Tik Tokking

While Ladd would finish the 2016-17 season with 23 goals and eight helpers, it was nowhere near what you’d expect for someone carrying a $5.5 million cap hit.

Ladd’s career with the Islanders hasn’t gone much better since. In 2019-20, Ladd played just four games after sustaining a knee injury in 2018-19.

At the 2020 trade deadline, the Islanders tried to move Ladd to the Minnesota Wild (subscription required). Ladd even agreed to waive his no-trade clause to facilitate the trade. With the Isles needing to make room to re-sign their RFAs, Ladd needs to show not only the Islanders but the rest of the league that he can still play.

Cue the TikTok.

I appreciate the hustle from Ladd here. With the play-in round coming, the 15-year NHL veteran is going to get a chance to play for the Islanders. Ladd will likely play on the Isles third line next to Jean-Gabriel Pageau.

Clearly he’s doing his work to stay in shape and make the best of that opportunity.

There’ve been a lot of comments dunking on Ladd because of his less than stellar career with the Islanders since signing that huge deal in free agency. But it’s great to see how hard Ladd is working to make the best of this chance.

If he performs well as he did against the Vancouver Canucks on March 10, Ladd will have raised his stock even if just marginally.

He’ll never live up to the $38.5 million deal he got out of Garth Snow. That’s just never going to happen. But he can try to make the best of it and give the Islanders everything he can even if that’s just playing a middle-six role.