Jul 5, 2011, 3:07 PM EDT
The Jets are keeping their captain locked in. Winnipeg signed Andrew Ladd to a five-year contract worth $22 million to keep the team captain locked in with the team and lead them into a new future in Manitoba. The deal comes with a salary cap hit of $4.4 million over the duration of the deal and for Winnipeg, keeping a class act player like Ladd made all the sense in the world.
With last season’s Thrashers team, Ladd had a career year scoring 29 goals and adding 30 assists and was named team captain halfway into the season. With Ladd, the Jets have a guy who has won two Stanley Cups (Carolina in 2006, Chicago in 2010) and former GM Rick Dudley was happy to take him off the Blackhawks’ hands when they had to clean house to get under the salary cap after winning the Cup in 2010.
Winnipeg’s summer has been a quiet one filled with smaller signings, but keeping Ladd around and giving him a hearty payout to be the leader of the team heading into a new situation makes a world of sense. Taking care of their own is the right thing to do and given the dearth of offense on the current Jets roster, Ladd’s goal scoring ability will need to continue.
The increase in minutes he saw in Atlanta last season showed the sort of potential he has to be a go-to guy. Through his career he was a guy that averaged between 11 and 14 minutes per game. With Atlanta he played over 20 minutes per game and saw his numbers jump across the board. Seizing an opportunity like that is huge and the potential to do more is still there. Now he’ll have to live up to it in Winnipeg to drive the hometown fans wild.
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