Ladd: ‘Kind of sad’ tonight could be last game in Winnipeg

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Following tonight’s home date against the Stars, the Jets will set out on a pair of road games and won’t be back until Mar. 1.

Mar. 1, of course, being the day after the Feb. 29 trade deadline.

And you know what that means in Winnipeg — it means that, this evening, captain Andrew Ladd could very well be playing his last game in front the MTS Centre faithful.

As a Jet, that is.

“We haven’t been told that. But I guess I can kind of see the writing on the wall,” Ladd said on Tuesday, per the Sun. “I obviously hope it’s not. But I realize it has the potential of being my last.

“And it’s kind of sad to think about.”

By now you’re all probably familiar with the Ladd situation, but a quick refresher:

Winnipeg GM Kevin Cheveldayoff had two key UFAs to sign this season in Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien. Money, logic and cap space suggested it might have to be one or the other, not both — and earlier this month, after Byfuglien signed a monster five-year, $38 million extension, Ladd’s writing appeared to be on the wall.

Ladd, of course, had a fairly big ask of his own: a six-year extension “with an average annual value north of $6 million,” per TSN senior correspondent Gary Lawless.

Contract talks between Winnipeg and the 30-year-old reportedly broke off in late January. Today, Ladd said he hasn’t received a new contract offer this week, adding he didn’t think there had been much in the way of negotiations since Christmas.

So, attention turned to Ladd as a potential trade deadline rental.

Several teams are reportedly in the mix, with Florida emerging as one that covets Ladd immensely. And it stands to reason that Cheveldayoff almost has to deal Ladd, primarily to avoid losing him for nothing in free agency — something that happened last year with Michael Frolik.

But despite all this writing on the wall, Ladd and his Jets teammates are still finding it difficult to fathom that, come Monday, the captain might be gone.

“It’s crazy to think we got to this point,” Blake Wheeler said, per the Sun. “I never imagined in a million years we’d be sitting here.”

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