Arizona Coyotes Need Andrew Ladd for one More Season

Andrew Ladd provides leadership and size at $6.5 million per season (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Andrew Ladd provides leadership and size at $6.5 million per season (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Last season the Arizona Coyotes acquired Andrew Ladd from the New York Islanders in a move that brought the Isles cap relief at the cost of two second-round picks (used on defensemen J.J. Moser and Mattias Havelid). The move was intended to bring the Coyotes to the salary cap floor, while acquiring draft picks.

I have been a fan that for years has pulled my hair when the team has made trades for bad contracts, and did nothing with the draft picks in the transaction. If you look at moves for Chris Pronger, Pavel Datsyuk, Marián Hossa, Dave Bolland, and Ladd, the team needed those contracts to be cap compliant.

I would rather see the team pick up a player with a lousy contract that is actually going to be on the ice if they can’t nail the draft picks. They have hit on just one of the acquired picks from these trades.

At least pay for players that are going to play.

In 2015 the Coyotes were nearly $18 million under the cap floor and needed to add contracts. So they traded for Chris Pronger’s cap hit ($4.9 million) and defenseman Nicklas Grossmann, in exchange for forward Sam Gagner and a conditional draft pick (a fourth-round draft pick in 2016).

Chris Pronger never played a game for the Coyotes (he was an NHL employee while we were paying him).

In 2016 the Coyotes acquired the contract of Pavel Datsyuk and the 16th overall pick. The picked turned into Jakob Chychrun, and Datsyuk’s $7.5 million cap hit brought to team to the cap floor.

Datsyuk never played a game for the Coyotes.

In 2016 the Coyotes also acquired Dave Bolland’s contract and Lawson Crouse from the Florida Panthers. Bolland was paid $5.5 million for three seasons by the Coyotes. Lawson Crouse is a stud.

Bolland never played a game for the Coyotes.

In 2018 the Coyotes acquired Marián Hossa and forward Vinnie Hinostroza, and defenseman Jordan Oesterle, plus a third-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. That pick turned into John Farinacci. The jury is out on this pick at this point. Hinostroza was fun to watch, and Oesterle was solid at times. Neither are on the team today. Hossa’s cap hit was $5.275 million for the Coyotes.

Hossa never played a game for the Coyotes.

Last season, the Coyotes picked up Ladd from and two second-round picks. Ladd’s salary is $5.5 million. Unlike the aforementioned players, Ladd could still play, kind of.

Andre Ladd played 51 games for the Coyotes.

He scored 7 goals, registered 5 assists, and totaled 12 points. What Ladd brought to this team was leadership. He brought stability to the younger players, and is an incredibly sound influence on this roster.

He could have mailed in it. He has nothing left to prove. He played for Carolina, Chicago, Atlanta, was part of the relocation to Winnipeg, and then signed with the New York Islanders. He won a Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks.

He is now 36 and has a ton of miles on the car (1,001 NHL games worth of miles). The crappy contract is on the Islanders. They knew his age when they signed him. So here we are entering the final year of Ladd’s contract and he is unsure about playing next season. He has not decided if he is coming back to play the final year of his contract.

Why shouldn’t question coming back? As mentioned, he has nothing left to prove. So why come back at 37 and play on a team in a full-blown rebuild? Why do that? Most guys his age would come back under the right circumstances and try to win a (or another) Cup. Period.

Why come back to the Coyotes and play for what fans are calling a tank season?

I can think of 5.5 million reasons for one more year.

Making $5.5 million to play hockey for one year is worth it.

Living in Scottsdale is awesome.

Ladd is a difference maker. His influence on this roster will be felt long after he retires. Come back for one (or two) more seasons.

The Coyotes need him. Not only to reach the salary cap floor, but to lead this team. If he does not return, get ready for the team to pick up another lousy contract and not see the player on the ice.

Come back Ladd, and wear the ‘C’ next season.

Happy Howlin’!