Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter
Brian Erni and I continue our annual season review, taking a look back at the 2016-17 New York Islanders and analyzing each player's performance in a down season that saw the team miss the playoffs by one point.
We will be offering two reviews per week that will take us right through to the beginning of training camp in September 2017. Of course, there are a couple of things to sort out prior, such as potential trades that could alter the look of this franchise going forward and oh, yeah, that pesky John Tavares extension.
Contract details via nhlnumbers.com and stats courtesy of hockeyreference.com.
16- Andrew Ladd - Forward
6-3, 200 lbs
31 years old
Contract: $5.500m cap hit through 2022-23 (NMC), unrestricted free agent
Season: 78 GP, 23 G - 8 A - 31 Pts, 45 PIM, 142 Shots, 16:11 TOI, 47.2 Corsi
Career: 847 GP, 233 G - 264 A - 497 Pts, 524 PIM, 1943 Shots, 16:48 TOI, 53.0 Corsi
Andrew Ladd was the prize of Garth Snow's summer of 2016. Signed to a seven-year contract with a no movement clause worth $38.5 million dollars within the first hour of free agency, the former Carolina Hurricanes/Winnipeg Jets and Chicago Blackhawks forward came with a resume that included two Stanley Cups and an average of 23 goals per season, reaching a high of 29 in 2010-11.
In the four years prior to the move to Brooklyn, Ladd had actually increased his average goals per season to 26 and that is extremely valuable in today's game, leading to his large contract number. He scored over 50 points four times and was just about a point-per-game (46 in 48 games) during the lockout season of 2012-13.
But Ladd struggled early with a back injury in training camp and was not given adequate time to gel with captain John Tavares by former head coach Jack Capuano, leading to a horrendous start that put him way behind the proverbial eight ball.
He continued to work through the injury and his struggles, which included only two goals in his first 22 games, and ended up finishing respectably in the tally department with 23, right on his career average despite playing almost three minutes less per game on mostly third and fourth units, which ended up being a major contributor to his career low assist total.
Ladd actually ended the season with a flourish, netting 21 times in his final 56 games for an 82 game average of 31. He had 11 goals in February and March, leading the Islanders back into contention for a playoff spot, one that they would fall short of achieving by one point and was third overall on the team in goals behind Anders Lee and Tavares.
What is evident is that New York is once again fixing for Ladd to be on a supplemental scoring line with the addition of Jordan Eberle and he will have to get off to a much better start if the Islanders are to keep ground in the uber-competitive Metropolitan division. His career splits of .25 goals per game pre all-star break and .32 post all-star break will need to even out and maybe even flip for the team to stay competitive. Last season, those splits showed .23 and .37.
IPB Grade: C- : Obviously, it's hard to pin his rough start against him fully with the back injury, pressing to perform up to contract and the fact he was pulled off the top line after barely two weeks. But it is what it is, and the numbers don't really project out to a higher grade, no matter the extenuating circumstances. Ladd is still a very effective player and one that the Islanders need. In the face of it all - advancing age, 847 NHL games, etc…we are looking at an extremely durable forward, one who's missed just 13 games in his last five years. Islanders fans should be looking for a more productive, consistent, healthy Andrew come 2017-18.