The New York Islanders are in a complicated situation this offseason. They currently have over $75 million in cap space committed to next season and still have to sign players like Adam Pelech, Ilya Sorokin, Keiffer Bellows and Anthony Beauvillier to contracts. The Kraken however could help out the Islanders by taking Andrew Ladd and his $4.425 million AAV contract if the Islanders throw in some picks and prospects. The Islanders get some cap relief, and the Kraken build up their prospect pool. It is a win-win for both organizations.
This would not be the first time that the Islanders made a deal with an expansion team. Back in 2017, the Islanders traded their 2017 first-round pick, a 2019 second-round pick, Mikhail Grabovski and Jake Bischoff so that Vegas would select Jean-Francois Berube. Through the deal, Vegas absorbed Grabovski’s $5 Million AAV cap hit while acquiring future assets.
That future first-round pick turned into Erik Brannstrom who Vegas then traded away as part of the Mark Stone deal. Although the return may not nab Seattle a future captain, it may be worth the risk. It is impossible to tell where a first-round pick may end up but having that asset could help nab Seattle a high-end player in the future.
Andrew Ladd never produced in New York and has spent the last few seasons as a healthy scratch or in the minors. This season, he has yet to appear in a game and has been regulated to the taxi squad. It is important to note that next season, there may be no taxi squad so the Islanders will have to choose to bury his salary in the minors, buy him out or keep him on the roster. All three of those options could cause some major cap issues as the Islanders are already cap-strapped and will have to negotiate Ryan Pulock’s contract.
If Ladd came to Seattle, the odds he could restart his career are slim. He would be used to get the Kraken to the cap floor, and could help out the younger players adjust to their new surroundings. Ladd was already part of one relocation when Atlanta moved to Winnipeg so he does have some experience on what it is like to be part of an inaugural season. His knowledge and winning pedigree could also be beneficial to the team in the long run. Ladd brings two Stanley Cups and 65 games of playoff experience and could be helpful if Seattle goes on a playoff run in their first two seasons.
Lastly, Ladd would be a great community ambassador for the organization. He has a long track record of community involvement and was a finalist for the 2015 Mark Messier Leadership Award which is given to the player that best displays leadership qualities on and off the ice. Although he would not contribute on the ice, his off-ice contributions could help the team and the community in the long run.
While the Islanders get help with cap relief, the Kraken could cash in with a Ladd deal. The Islanders do not have a first-round pick this year but could still nab next year’s pick. In a draft that will be tricky to maneuver due to the inability to see players play, next year’s pick may be more valuable. If Seattle really wants a pick this year as well, they can ask for a second or third-rounder.
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On top of the draft pick, Seattle should ask for a prospect. They are not going to get a player like Oliver Wahlstrom or Noah Dobson, but the Islanders do have some interesting prospects in their pipeline. Players like Reece Newkirk who just finished his season in the WHL with Portland or Robin Salo who is applying his trade over in Sweden could be good pickups for the Kraken as they build their prospect pool.
If Seattle wanted a high-end prospect, they could ask for a player like Bodie Wilde, Ilya Sorokin or Kieffer Bellows but that would most likely mean no first-round pick. Whatever Seattle decides, the Islanders do have some interesting prospects in their pipeline.
Beneficial to Both
While Seattle could go and select Scott Mayfield, Cal Clutterbuck or Leo Komarov, the chance to build up the prospect pool may be the best option. Yes, Ladd may never play for the Kraken but who knows what the return could be. The draft next season is very strong with Julian Lutz, Justin Cote and Ivan Miroshnichenko available late in the first round. The picks or prospects may even be used to get back more assets. This is an avenue the Islanders and Kraken should explore as it is beneficial to both teams in the long run.
Adam is excited to be joining The Hockey Writers as part of the Seattle Kraken and Vancouver Canucks team. His work can also be found at area51sportsnet.com where he covers the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League.