While the Winnipeg Jets and their captain Andrew Ladd prepare for a game tonight against the Dallas Stars. While the Jets try to focus on business, there is really only one thing on most people’s minds, and that is the futures of Ladd. With tonight being the final home game on the schedule before the trade deadline, all signs point to this being the last time the home crowd will see Ladd in a Jets uniform. In total, Winnipeg plays three times before next Monday’s deadline where the Jets may be busy. It seems only fitting then on this day, that we look back on Ladd’s time in Winnipeg and what he meant to this team.
Ladd, The First Jet
When it was announced the Jets would be moving to Winnipeg, Andrew Ladd was the first face the fans in Winnipeg saw. He introduced the jersey to the public and was the voice of the team for months before any hockey was actually played. He played on the team’s top line for most of his time here, and along side Blake Wheeler and Bryan Little, he carried the team offensively. Though the Jets struggled the first couple years, Ladd was all you could ask for in a captain. He represented the city and the team with nothing but class. He plays a tough style and combines it with a pretty good touch around the net and an excellent shot.
Over just under five years, the captain has played 347 games for the Jets, as well as 4 playoff games. With 109 goals and 136 assists for 245 points, he will rank among the top Jets forwards over that time. He showed grit, averaging over 50 PIM’s a year and could be counted on in all three zones at times.
Ladd reiterates that he still would like to sign with the #NHLJets, but admits the writing appears to be on the wall.
— Sara Orlesky (@saraorlesky) February 23, 2016
Questions have been surrounding Ladd all season about his contract status. With this being the last year on his existing contract, everyone knew it was either an extension or a trade that was coming. The Jets walked the line all year stating many times that they would like to re-sign their captain, and he claimed to want to return to the Jets as well. However, the two parties could not come to an agreement, and after signing Dustin Byfuglien to an enormous extension last week, the writing was on the wall, the Jets were trading their captain.
The move has been made easier with Ladd’s play this season. Despite recent success, he has struggled to find his game all year, and both fans and management seem more accepting to the reality of a future without the only captain this team has ever known. The Jets are now shopping Ladd, looking for the best deal. Multiple teams will have representatives in the crowd tonight, looking at what could be a huge deadline acquisition. While it appears to be a certainty that Ladd gets moved before next Monday’s deadline, he will still suit up for the Jets tonight, and the Winnipeg fans owe it to him to send him out-of-town right.
Born and raised Winnipeg sports fan and contributor with The Hockey Writers.