Pretty compelling stuff here from TSN senior correspondent Gary Lawless on the rocky relationship between Winnipeg and captain Andrew Ladd:
Talks with Ladd’s agents have broken off. In the meantime, Jets’ GM Kevin Cheveldayoff was recently seen huddling with defenceman Dustin Byfuglien’s representative.
Winnipeg has chosen Buff ahead of Ladd. It’s a reversal in direction that must have surprised the captain and his teammates.
Lawless goes on to report that relations between Ladd and the Jets have “soured,” adding the 30-year-old pending UFA is seeking a six-year extension “with an average annual value north of $6 million.”
Ladd’s currently in the last of a five-year, $22 million deal with a $4.4M cap hit.
Last year, Ladd was one of the main catalysts behind Winnipeg’s first playoff appearance since moving from Atlanta, scoring a career-high 62 points in 81 games while playing through the pain of a sports hernia.
He was also nominated for the Messier Leadership Award, which “recognizes an individual as a superior leader within their sport, and as a contributing member of society.”
This year, though, has mostly been a disaster.
The Jets are one of the league’s biggest disappointments, sitting nine points back of a playoff spot (and just two ahead of Edmonton for last place in the Western Conference). Ladd’s production has slumped — 10 goals, 27 points through 48 games — and, fairly or not, he’s shouldered much of the blame while also facing some criticism for his contractual demands.
All of which begs the question:
Will he still be a Jet by Feb. 29?
Ladd would certainly be a welcome addition for a number of clubs at the deadline. A big-bodied winger with two Stanley Cups on his resume, he’s the kind of impact player many teams only dream about adding — because, well, they don’t often become available.
Related: Will the Jets trade Byfuglien to a contender?