An exciting, hard-nosed Islanders team emerged from the ashes of what was the John Tavares-less squad last year. The surprise playoff berth was welcome to Islander fans as the team, under new management, soared to great heights and proved many doubters wrong. The cherries on the top were sweeping the Pittsburgh Penguins in the playoffs and making it further than the aforementioned Tavares and his new team, the Toronto Maple Leafs. Although while optimism may be the drug all fans are hooked on, the previous regime is still haunting the Islanders in various ways.
One prominent way that the previous regime, spearheaded by general manager Garth Snow’s decisions, are still present in the Islanders organization is the contract he gave to alternate captain Andrew Ladd. On July 1, 2016, the Islanders signed Ladd to a seven-year, $38.5 million contract following the departures of Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen.
With four years left on that contract, it may start to become a concern for the Islanders organization as their blossoming young stars will be looking for new contracts. In past year’s, this would not be seen as a huge detriment, but nowadays, younger players coming off of entry-level and bridge contracts are starting to demand more and more money, as could be seen by the Mitch Marner and Mikko Rantanen deals. Mathew Barzal, Ryan Pulock, Devon Toews and Anthony Beauvillier are just some of the players expiring in the next few years that could be demanding a large paycheck based on their play.
While this may seem like a frightening reality, there is a silver lining. If all of these players listed have great arguments for demanding large contracts, it means the Islanders’ development team worked wonders. Now, let’s look at the player behind the paycheck, Andrew Ladd.
Since coming to the Islanders ahead of the 2016-17 season, Ladd has yet to record a season where he posts higher than 31 points, which he totaled in his first year with the team. Since then, he has dealt with a multitude of injuries including his most recent one, which was suffering a torn ACL on March 24 against the Arizona Coyotes. Due to those injuries and inconsistency overall, his point total has been declining each year.
Projecting the season stats for Andrew Ladd is going to be difficult due to the previously-mentioned torn ACL. According to the Islanders brass, Ladd will most likely be out until November, and at that point, he may not have a spot in the lineup.
Despite Ladd’s contract looking like it could be considered “immoveable”, no contract is immovable. If there is a taker, there is a taker. The Toronto Maple Leafs were able to deal Nikita Zaitsev. The Vancouver Canucks were able to move Erik Gudbranson. It may take a sweetener, but the Islanders should be able to dump Ladd’s contract somewhere.
As the Islanders’ young talent starts to demand more money as the years go on, the Islanders will have to find the cap space to sign them. One way to do that would be to trade Andrew Ladd, Garth Snow’s lasting mark, by adding a sweetener.