The Atlanta Thrashers named former Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Ladd their new captain, according to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
I have to admit, on first impact, this news was pretty surprising. Yet in the grand scheme of things, it actually makes a lot of sense.
When you think about it, Ladd is the anti-Ilya Kovalchuk. While the Thrashers’ last captain seemed to coast on his considerable skills, Ladd fights for every single thing he gets in the NHL. That’s not to say he lacks talent altogether, though. Ladd has seven goals and 11 assists for 18 points in 19 games this season and certainly has a pedigree: he was the fourth overall pick of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft by the Carolina Hurricanes.
Perhaps he just needed a chance truly thrive, though, as his average of 18:50 minutes per game is more than four minutes higher than his second highest average from the 2008-09 season. NHL.com points out that Ladd is the eighth captain in the league who is 25 years old or younger and one of 11 who are 26 or younger.
Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay explains to Vivlamore why the team named him the new captain.
“I just think he’s the right guy. I’ve seen lots of captains in my day but he’s a well-respected person, which to me is absolutely vital in that role. I think it’s a flaw if you just make your best player the captain. In this case, we picked the player that’s played great. He’s been our best player on many nights. He’s been as committed a player as I’ve seen in a long time.”
Congratulations to Ladd, who seems like he’s really hitting his prime as a member of the Blackhawk-infused Thrashers.