Andrew Ladd Shows He Is Not Bad at Hockey
In fact, he is actually good
Andrew Ladd’s tenure with the New York Islanders got off to a terrible start, and it appeared that Garth Snow had made yet another bonehead move as GM of the Islanders. The two-time Stanley Cup Champion had just four points through his first 22 games, and had been demoted to a third line winger. A THIRD LINE WINGER! All while earning a cool $8 million this season (cap hit of $5.5 million). For comparison, super star center, and all-around great guy, John Tavares is earning $6 million to carry the same team on his back. This discrepancy in money earned to actual on ice value naturally led to frustration and disdain towards the Islanders’ new “super star.”
After a rocky start in Brooklyn, Ladd has finally began living up to his reputation. Andrew Ladd is a goal scorer — that’s why he was brought in. Not including the lockout shortened season of 2013 (where he still had 18 goals in 48 games), Ladd posted 5 straight seasons of 20 or more goals. This is what the Islanders thought they were bringing into the Barclays Center, but with Ladd being on the wrong side of 30, it all appeared to be yet another gaffe in a long history of incompetence dating back to the late 90's.
Thankfully Ladd has turned his season around, scoring 14 goals in his last 30 games, while helping the Islanders become the playoff contender that they were expected to be. Even more impressive is Ladd’s play under Islanders’ interim head coach and former teammate of Ladd’s, Doug Weight. The Islanders are 10–4–2 since Weight took over, and Ladd is playing his best hockey of the season. In his last 12 games, Ladd has scored 8 goals including multi-goal games against playoff teams Montreal and the New York Rangers. This stretch also features a game-winning goal against Montreal and a shorthanded goal against New Jersey.
Seeing this burst from Ladd is hopefully a sign of things to come and not a brief flash in the pan as his former self. Based on the timing of Ladd’s hot streak and the performance of the team, the two seem to be directly correlated. A good Andrew Ladd means a good Islanders hockey team, and vice versa. Between Ladd’s hot streak and Anders Lee scoring goals just about every night, John Tavares finally has the secondary scoring he has so desperately needed. The hottest team in hockey has a real chance to sneak into the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the fourth time in the last five seasons.