Can Kevin Cheveldayoff Trade Andrew Ladd?

Will the Winnipeg Jets sign or trade Andrew Ladd? – 

It’s never an easy decision to change the captain of a hockey team.  The Winnipeg Jets find themselves in an interesting situation.  Can Kevin Cheveldayoff trade his Captain Andrew Ladd?

This is a business and in the long run, it may serve Kevin Cheveldayoff best to cash in Andrew Ladd’s chips, get what he can as the NHL trade deadline approaches.  Sure!  After all, it’s only Andrew Ladd right?

Not such an easy decision.

Andrew Ladd has done no wrong, as far as his off-ice behavior in Winnipeg is concerned.  He came to Winnipeg early when the team announced the move from Atlanta.  He has been nothing but a professional in the community since. On the ice, he helped get the Winnipeg Jets and their fans their first playoff series in over a decade. (swept or not, it was fun)

Is your captain worth more because he’s your captain?

He has been a good captain all around and what’s not to like about a guy like that?  Has it been enough to re-sign him to a healthy contract?  This may be his last deal in the league.  Grabbing as much cash as he can for his family’s future is likely the goal.  One never knows the shelf life of a hockey player, and after all, Ladd is not getting any younger.  As a family man myself, I can understand, financial security would be a big load off his shoulders.

From an on-ice standpoint, we have all seen the drop off in his game so far this season.  We all know what Andrew Ladd is capable of.  He is a hard-working, physical player that produces when given the opportunity.  We have come to expect that “compete” from him night in and night out.  He was playing with a sports hernia during the playoffs and he was still out there crashing bodies and skating hard.  We just aren’t seeing that this season.  What is the reason?  Was it the offseason surgery?  Is it the contract situation or has he just checked out? The reason doesn’t really matter.  It’s evident he isn’t the same.

Obviously, whether he stays or goes is affected by the money.   Maybe, Andrew Ladd is expecting “top line” money vs “top nine” money Kevin Cheveldayoff is willing to pay for him.  Kevin Cheveldayoff would need to have Andrew Ladd playing at a decent top nine level and we have that in spades right now.  I’m not complaining and it’s not a bad situation but is keeping him around the right decision and especially at his asking price?

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What’s really important here is where you see this team two to four years down the road?  There is only so many spots and there are players constantly trying to move up in the lineup.  That includes players just drafted, to those already on the roster.  Some of them are going to require some room.

Can Mark Scheifele continue to progress?  What is his ceiling?  What about the likes of Nikolaj Ehlers, or Nic Petan, and many others?  Where are they going to fit long-term.  If they are expected to fill top line roles, they need top line minutes.  Is Andrew Ladd someone we want around long-term taking away ice time from these kids over years to come if he isn’t playing at the top-level. Andrew Ladd has been shifted down in the lineup recently and I can’t help but wonder if Paul Maurice gets the same production from someone else playing beside Blake Wheeler and Bryan Little as he has from Drew Stafford recently. After all, their games haven’t seemed to drop off, one could even argue Wheeler is getting better

Do you pay him for his past?

Is Andrew Ladd going to be back on this top line going forward?  As I said, we have good top nine players right now.  We need a true top line of we want to compete for a Stanley Cup.  He has won two Stanley cups, which always looks good on a resume but we need a game changer if we want to see the cup here in Winnipeg.  I don’t know that Ladd, Little, Wheeler are the top line I envision taking them there.

In no way am I trying to bring down Andrew Ladd.  He’s a heck of a hockey player.  I really love the game he brings when he’s got it going.  I would hate to play against him when he’s playing at his highest level.  Where does he fit into this equation, though?  What kind of message are you sending to the team if you trade him?  

This is not an easy decision.

Going forward, I’d love to see Andrew Ladd continue to lead this team, but I know we need more than Ladd on the ice for championship success.  Can he help get us there?  He’s already proven he can be a piece of that puzzle, twice, but can he do it as the captain?  Is he willing to lead with less ice time?  

Kevin Cheveldayoff might very well be making a decision that will make or break this team.  From what we have heard, he’s trying to get a deal done.  Will Andrew Ladd be part of the future of this team or not?  The decision is ultimately his.  

Go Jets Go!

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