31-Year-Old Left Wing – New York Islanders
Andrew Ladd Contract Information:
Signed a seven-year, $38.5 million contract with the Islanders in July of 2016.
Ladd's goal in the third helped his team earn a point in a 3-2 shootout loss to St. Louis on Monday
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
One of the most sought after free agents of the 2016 offseason didnít take long to ink a seven-year deal with the Islanders on the first day of free agency. Clearly the former Jets captain didnít need much time pondering incoming offers, admitting John Tavares and the Islanders closing in on Stanley Cup contention were major factors in his decision to take his talents to Brooklyn. Coming off a bit of a disappointing season with 34 points in 59 games for the underwhelming Jets, the former fourth-overall pick was dealt at the trade deadline and found his scoring touch with his old squad Ė the Blackhawks Ė with eight goals in 19 games. With a top-line wing spot vacated by Kyle Okposo, whoís now with Buffalo, Ladd seems to be the most logical choice as a replacement to play alongside Tavares. Ladd has been knocking on the door of 30 goals for the past several seasons (topping out at 29), so look for him to again push for that mark as part of a deep Islandersí top-six with plenty of offensive prowess.
The Jets' captain enjoyed perhaps his finest season yet last year, setting a new personal best with 62 points on the strength of a career-high 38 helpers. Like top-line mate Blake Wheeler, he complements his strong scoring ability with chippy play, as he also set new career marks in hits (212) and PIM (72) last season. The Jets grew his role on the power play last year, and he responded with his best man-advantage production yet. In short, it's hard to find a reason not to own Ladd in fantasy. Ladd underwent successful surgery for a hernia in May, but is expected to be fully recovered by the start of the Jetsí training camp, so owners donít need to worry about his health heading into this season. As a durable, well-rounded contributor in a variety of categories, he shouldn't be allowed to fall too deep in this year's drafts.
Ladd will return for his fifth season with the Winnipeg franchise as their team captain, despite still just being 28 years old. Heís already won Stanley Cups with the Hurricanes and Blackhawks, and is coming off one of his most productive seasons statistically. He finished 2013-14 with 23 goals and 31 assists in 78 games, and also chipped in 57 PIM. Perhaps his most impressive accomplishment, however, was finishing the season tied for third on the team with a plus-8 rating. The line of Ladd, Bryan Little and Michael Frolik often took on the toughest matchups night after night, so itís encouraging that they were able to keep their heads above water in the NHLís toughest division. Ladd missed the last four games of the season due to an elbow injury, but fantasy owners can be comfortable drafting him -- heís had the entire offseason to recover and has only missed five total games over the last six seasons. His consistency and durability make him a solid piece for any fantasy roster.
Ladd managed an outstanding 18 goals, 28 assists and 46 points in the shortened 48-game 2012-13 season last year. Considering his career-high of 59 points took Ladd 82 games back in the 2010-11 season, there's no doubt fantasy owners were more than happy with the production they got from the Jets' captain last year. Playing on a line with Blake Wheeler and Bryan Little proved to help all three to the point where Ladd may very well flirt with 70 points and his first 30-goal season in 2013-14.
Having taken part in 163 of a possible 164 games over his past two seasons with Atlanta/Winnipeg, "the Captain" has been a steady source of goals with 57 over that span, also cracking 50 points the last two years. Don't expect 40 scores anytime soon, but so long as you can secure the veteran forward in a mid-to-late round, there is value to be had here.
Ladd had the best season of his career last year (29 goals, 30 assists for 59 points). His production earned him the honor of being named team captain to go along with a long-term contract extension. He surpassed Nik Antropov as the team's top forward and he's a good mid-round pick who will probably top 30 goals and 60 points this year, as long as the new contract he signed doesn't go to his head.
Just one of the many players the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks traded this summer, Ladd will fit in nicely as a contributor on an improving Thrashers squad. Although the former fourth overall pick (2004) probably wonít ever be the type of offensive player youíd normally expect from a top-five draft pick, he has proven to be an effective checker that can put the puck in the net once in a while. Depending on who his linemates are in Atlanta, Ladd could end up reaching the 20-goal mark for the first time in his career simply because of an opportunity for more ice time. If not, heíll help create enough offensive chances on the fore-check to surpass 40 points.
Ladd had his best season in his short career with 15 goals and 34 assists and a plus 26 in the 2008-09 season. Worked well with Martin Havlat so will need to find another linemate to work with. Ladd like many of the Hawks will need to continue their development to the next level.
The Blackhawks acquired Ladd in a midseason deal with the Hurricanes last season. He had a career-high 30 points last season and is skating with the likes of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews in training camp, so there is plenty of upside. If Ladd lands on one of the top two lines, he could easily put up career best numbers.
Just 21, Ladd offers a decent chance of a significant increase in his offensive numbers this season. He still has a ways to go in order to break into the very strong first two lines (Ray Whitney and Cory Stillman are ahead of him), but he has talent and youth on his side.
Ladd emphatically has a productive future with thia team. He won't turn 21 until December, but has shown that he can play at this level. He's among the likeliest Hurricanes to take a significant step forward in productivity this season, conceivably to the 55 point level, but more likely to about 40.
Ladd will be an excellent power forward that you'll be happy to have on your team. The only question is how long it will take him to develop to that level. Still just 19, he may be moved down to the minors to get him more ice time in anticipation of a later callup. This year he's probably worth only a late pick in draft-and-hold league, unless you're very risk tolerant.