New York Islanders: Breaking down Andrew Ladd’s unfortunate legacy with the Isles

New York Islanders. Andrew Ladd. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
New York Islanders. Andrew Ladd. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

The New York Islanders have a lot to look to forward too and many more things to worry about than Andrew Ladd right now. However, there is still one lingering discussion about the expensive winger and his role on this team.

Andrew Ladd is one of the few things that has not worked out for the New York Islanders this past calendar year, but how can we look at his overall legacy with the team?

The old cliché that best describes the New York Islanders right now goes along the lines of “what a difference a year makes.” Perhaps that cliché applies for many reasons. For instance, we just passed the first anniversary of the Isles firing Doug Weight and Garth Snow for Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trtoz. The differences in those respective pairings are astronomical.

In large part of that change, the Islanders entire offseason is different from this point last season too, well to an extent. Instead of having a lottery pick(s) to look forward to after an underwhelming season, the Islanders are riding the high of winning a playoff series vs. arch-rival, reaching triple digit points, and a second place finishes in their division.

But what is similar is the Islanders are in consecutive offseason’s in which both their captain and one of their goalies are entering the free agent market, extensions for both Anders Lee and Robin Lehner are looming, but much like John Tavares and Jaroslav Halak one year ago, anything can happen.

But to reiterate, much of the change has been for the better. The Islanders can use what has happened in the past, like Tavares leaving, to help prevent a leader like Lee leaving in the future. Even if this means they have to bite a little bit on his contract and pony up the cash. The same goes for Lehner, who I would assume the Islanders want to keep around.

Much of this is all in the future. However, with guys like Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz in charge, there is no need to automatically feel pessimistic about the moves the Islanders make anymore, particularly this offseason. The new gentleman in charge knows exactly what they are doing and have been proven right more than wrong. Their first season together was a massive success.

All this in mind finally brings me to my next point, Andrew Ladd.

For all the damaged goods, that it seemed the Islanders had under the Garth Snow regime, for example, Thomas Greiss, who had a massive turnaround this year, it looks as if the system is helping bring out the talent of these players.

Look at the development of players like Ryan Pulock and Scott Mayfield, for example. Their careers looked as if they would never blossom two years ago, but now both could be integral pieces to a full franchise resurgence on defense, a defense that was the best in the league last season.

So, of all the things that Lou and Barry have touched that has turned from dust into gold, there is still one exception, Andrew Ladd,

Now, instead of piling onto Ladd, who has just been suffering from incredible injuries, let’s look at the facts. To start, he was not signed by this new regime. His seven-year deal was given to him by Snow, not Lou. To add-on, he has only played in 177 games with the Islanders in three seasons with just 71 points, not ideal for a player who was given that kind of term and $38.5M. The production needs to be there.

Although he spent much of this 2018-2019 season injured, he still had 26 games to prove he was going to be part of the resurgence department and not the aforementioned damaged goods department. In those 26 games, on again off again games may I add, he was only good for 11 points, but 16 PIM. So, not ideal, in my opinion.

While it can be an excuse for him that he was injured, that he is aging, and that this is not a team built on one player’s offensive production, he has done nothing spectacular to prove he brings great value. He is a veteran player who has been there before. Perhaps just being a veteran, even in its most generic form, is the most important thing to the Lou Lamoriello system, but overall, he is only somewhat irrelevant. Ladd isn’t spectacular, but he isn’t horrifying. He is just a guy who is an Islander. His stats, almost half a point a game, really isn’t awful considering the type of player he is, but half a point a game is subjective. It can be looked at as a positive or negative impact. Plus, I don’t think just one player can make or break the system anyway.

Luckily, the Islanders still have a plethora of cap space this offseason to make moves and indirectly replace Ladd. He is always going to be out for an extended period after his ACL tear anyway.

So, I suppose it is okay that he is not hindering the team in any way. The show still goes on, and he does not make or break them as a defensive player or goaltender would. But still, the only thing he brings to the Islanders right now is being the last real “Snow job.” His contract was terrible at the time and isn’t aging particularly well right now.

Again luckily for him, much of the rest of the staff and players that were part of the Garth Snow era have either a) left or b) proved they can thrive in the new system. Ladd’s small sample size does not say much, but his barely playing does tell the story here.

If he does nothing else, he will hold the dubious honor of always reminding me of Garth Snow. He is the last valid head-scratching decision that the old regime made. The old system that brought some dark days to this franchise.

Is it too late for Ladd to change his legacy with the Islanders? No, and to be honest, I am rooting for him to change it. We all gain nothing from Ladd doing nothing. However, is the only thing we can associate Andrew Ladd with right now a horrible contract given out by an inept general manager? Yes.

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Thankfully, this offseason will give us plenty of other, more important things to talk about rather than Ladd and his unfortunate honor of being a “Snow Job.” This is all you will hear about Ladd this offseason, and you’re welcome?