If the team ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Everyone knows by now that Andrew Ladd was placed on waivers on Thursday, November 14. According to general manager Lou Lamoriello, the decision was mutual. Lamoriello made it clear that Ladd knew of the plan and approved it. Both Lamoriello and Ladd want him playing regularly so he can return to NHL shape.
As Lamoriello explained, “[Ladd] needs to play in games and see where the strength is, where the liabilities are, and so forth… There’s no timetable [for his stay in Bridgeport]. His play, his physical fitness will determine that.”
And honestly, there’s no downside to this.
So far, without Ladd, the Islanders have done perfectly fine. A 10-game win streak. An ongoing 13-game point streak. The beginning of a new win streak. If there’s nothing wrong with this team, there’s no reason to change the line-up and “fix” it. He’s just found himself in a similar position as Thomas Hickey.
In his prime, Ladd was a highly effective winger, winning two Stanley Cups with the 2006 Carolina Hurricanes and the 2010 Chicago Blackhawks. When Garth Snow acquired him in free agency, the hope was that he would replace Kyle Okposo or Frans Nielsen as a high-scoring veteran winger… The problem was that he’s injury-prone.
Even during his young days in Carolina, Ladd was constantly injured, and his move to New York has been no different. Besides his inability to smoothly join the scoring squad, he’s needed ACL surgery on both knees in the last two seasons. This season, Ladd is attempting to come back from his second surgery on one knee.
Even while he is healthy, he doesn’t contribute nearly enough. In the 2017-18 season, he had just 29 points (12 goals, 17 assists) in 73 games, and last year he had 11 points (3 goals, 8 assists) in 26 games. So far this year, he has a single goal in five games with the Sound Tigers.
Clearly, he needs the rehabilitation time in the AHL, and honestly, it wouldn’t be the worst scenario if he never made it back to the NHL. He had his glory days. He won two Cups. Even when the Islanders first signed Ladd, he was old. This December, he’ll be 34. He should finish his career in Bridgeport and retire gracefully.
When the average age of the current Islanders roster is about 28, it doesn’t hurt to promote a younger player instead of the injured veteran. Bardreau. Wahlstrom. Even Kuhnhakl. Anyone younger who deserves a chance.
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