Andrew Ladd is officially an unrestricted free-agent this summer who’s now reportedly unlikely to be re-signed by the Chicago Blackhawks. The 30-year-old left winger is looking for a new home in pursuit of his third Stanley Cup of his career. Could he have interest in playing in Minnesota? Or for that matter, would the Wild have interest in bringing him in?
Prior to the trade deadline in 2016, the former Winnipeg captain was dealt to Chicago for what seemed like what would be another tenure of substantial time in Illinois. However, with an unusual early first-round exit for the Hawks in this year’s playoffs, to go along with some troubling salary-cap issues of their own, Andrew Ladd was told by Hawk management that a contract would be “tough” to offer for his continued services.
Ladd, whose last cup win came in 2010 with Chicago, wants to win and compete at this stage in his career, something he has not been able to truly do during his six years of time with the Thrasher/Jet organization. But at his, age and being more of a two-way player than a pure offensive threat, do the Wild need another vet who’ll be on the wrong side of 30 this December, and who may demand north of $5 million per year in his new contract?
How Would An Andrew Ladd Signing Look?
For Ladd to be even remotely considered in the coming weeks, Chuck Fletcher would almost have to either make some kind of trade(s) to shed salary, or buyout either Thomas Vanek or Jason Pominville.
Ok, so one of these guys is parted ways with, what does the contract look like if Ladd were to be signed?
Ladd made a surprisingly low $4.5 million this year. He will surely ask for more money at this stage in his career, but if I’m Chuck Fletcher, I’m not willing to hand out more than three to four years at anything north of $5-$5.5 million per. Who knows if Ladd would even consider those parameters. But the truth of the matter is that the Wild have enough issues of their own with expensive contracts right now due to bad ones being thrown around in offseasons past. They don’t need another one for a guy who won’t pot 30 goals in a year.
What Would Ladd Bring, and Is This a Real Possibility?
Ladd is, arguably, already post-peak in his career, although being a two-time Stanley Cup champ, who brings experience and a disciplined style of two-way hockey with him – more so than some current veterans on the Wild roster – wouldn’t necessarily be a bad idea. While a bona-fide 20 goal scorer in his own right, he won’t put up superstar numbers, but he does play with an edge and has a gritty style to his game. More leadership surely couldn’t hurt the locker room either. That same locker room that was rumored to be divided earlier this year.
The Wild don’t really need another winger at this current time either, but who knows what this roster will start shaping up like when Fletcher and Boudreau really get this thing rolling.
Something that stood out when this news broke was the fact that Andrew Ladd is looking for a good place to not only play hockey, but where his family will enjoy living.
Can the family go somewhere where my wife and kids enjoy life? That’s a big element. From my standpoint, I want to win and compete for a Cup.
When talking to teams, Ladd calls this a “big element” for his decision making in his interview with Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet. We’ve seen this before in Minnesota, with Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, and Thomas Vanek all calling the area home in the offseason due to their regional roots and/or affiliation. Ladd (being from British Columbia), seems to be looking for that same type of family atmosphere moving forward. At the end of the day, he could ultimately favor teams north of the border. Then again, Minnesota has been called the 11th province of Canada.
Add him to the list of potential targets for Chuck Fletcher to bring in for Bruce Boudreau’s lineup.
Jon Nomland is a Journalism student out of Colorado, and currently a Minnesota Wild contributor for The Hockey Writers. When not engaged in Wild hockey, he enjoys following the Philadelphia Flyers due to his Pennsylvania roots.