After 18 seasons in the NHL, Andrew Ladd is calling it a career. The 18-year veteran announced his retirement in an "X" post, thanking the people and organizations who assisted in his NHL longevity.
Before joining the NY Islanders in the summer of 2016, the Maple Ridge, BC native came up the ranks in the WHL with the Calgary Hitmen, drafted fourth overall by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2004. During his first season with the Canes, Ladd was part of the Carolina team that raised Lord Stanley's Cup, giving the organization its first title. After three years in Carolina, Ladd was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks. During his third season in the Windy City, Ladd notched his first hat trick on March 10, 2010, and won his second Stanley Cup with a dominant Blackhawks team.
The summer following Chicago's cup victory, Ladd was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers in a cap dump, where he was named captain. He agreed to a five-year extension with the organization the following off-season as the franchise relocated to Winnipeg.
In the summer of 2016, when the Isles were in hot pursuit of Steven Stamkos during his free-agency summer, Garth Snow turned to Ladd as Stamkos re-signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Ladd inked a seven-year $38.5M contract, brought in to provide scoring and leadership on John Tavares' wing.
"I'm excited for the opportunity to play with a team that has such great potential," Ladd said in a conference call after signing with the Isles. "The Islanders have high-end, young talent and state-of-the-art facilities on Long Island and in Brooklyn, which made this the best choice for me."
Ladd agreeing to join the Islanders, who were then playing at the Barclays Center, was just about all the excitement he provided during his time in blue and orange. During his first year with the Isles, Ladd registered 31 points (23 goals, 8 assists) in his best season with the team. Remaining relatively healthy during his first two seasons, playing 78 and 72 games, Ladd found it problematic to stay on the ice for the remainder of his Islanders tenure as injuries plagued his career.
Appearing in just 30 games over the following two seasons, Lou Lamoriello shipped Ladd to the Arizona Coyotes in a pure cap dump. Lamoriello sent two second round picks and a third-round pick to get Ladd off the books. Ladd played just one season in Arizona before deciding his body had enough.
It may not have been the ideal signing for the Isles in 2016, but it marked a moment when the Islanders seemed to turn a corner from perennial bottom dwellers into a playoff contender. Ladd was an established NHL veteran who had been at the pinnacle of the game twice as there were hopes he could be a difference maker for the Isles
Ladd finished his playing days with 550 points (256 goals, 294 assists) and eclipsed the 1000-game mark in one of his final games, finishing with 1001 for his career.