Andrew Ladd completed another season as the Winnipeg Jets leading scorer. Although he has shown himself to be a key player on the team, he has his detractors. He tends to take bad offensive zone penalties, but that can be worked on because his ability to forecheck, backcheck, kill penalties, and score are all valuable assets to the Jets. Ladd is also the team captain and has shown himself to be good in that job.
There were many fans who pointed out that Ladd looked hurt and seemed to be lagging most of the second half of the season. At the end of the first round Paul Maurice revealed that Ladd had been playing with a hernia since January. This is an injury that usually means surgery right away, not playing with the injury for over two months. This is where the Jets lack of forward depth really hurt them; instead of Ladd being able to get fully healthy for the playoffs he had to play injured because there was no one to take his role.
As mentioned earlier, Ladd led the Jets in scoring. He was third on the team in points/60 for all 5 on 5 minutes with 1.9. That means that for every 60 minutes he played, he put up almost two points. His CorsiRel was 3.2%, meaning the Jets did better possession wise with him on the ice than off it. His penalty differential is second worst on the team next to Dustin Byfuglien. This is a problem because Ladd is a key player for the Jets. He has to be able to continue to play the game that makes him an effective player, while cutting back on the penalties he takes.
As the tableau shows, Ladd is a really good player for the Jets. He is easily a first liner both possession wise and scoring wise. While his shots/60 is not that of first liner, he is very clearly still a top six player and a valuable piece of the Jets for the time being. Ladd is the teams first line left wing and with Evander Kane traded, the lack of depth on the left wing has to be a major consideration for the Jets in regards to Ladd. Although the future looks bright, there are no promises about any of the young players developing into the players that it is assumed they will be when they make the NHL. It is key to keep actual NHLers in the lineup.
Ladd has one more year on his contract and is still a good player, BUT forwards peak years are around the players 25 year old season on average. Most good forwards face a steep drop off at age 35. Both these facts need to be considered when talking about Ladd's future with the Jets. It would be smart for the Jets to talk to him this off-season to see where he stands on an extension and plan from there. If he is willing to take a four or five year contract for a reasonable amount, there is no reason not to keep him. If he is looking for more than that, the Jets may have to consider trading the captain for long-term cap management reasons.
Chart from ownthepuck.blogspot.ca, all stats from War on Ice and Puckalytics.