Ladd himself has said he’d hoped to have had a deal in place by now to stay in Winnipeg — that looked likely, considering there were earlier reports that talks were going strong — but the two sides have reportedly not seen eye-to-eye on a price tag for Ladd’s services.
As reported by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, it now looks like the Jets are more focused on re-signing Dustin Byfuglien. (Though of course, as Friedman points out, these things can change in a real hurry.)
So, let’s just say the Jets are indeed beginning to field some phonecalls about their captain. Which teams might be a fitting landing place for the 6-foot-3, 200-pound winger? Boston could stand to restock some of its size, and the Ducks might benefit from a little scoring help, for example.
With that, here are five teams — yes, based purely on our own speculation — that might make sense for Ladd to land on or before the NHL Trade Deadline on Feb. 29:
David Poile already made a big splash on offence when he took part in the blockbuster player-for-player trade that extracted centreman Ryan Johansen from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for defenceman Seth Jones — and all reports point to him not being done. It’s clear the Predators are in win-now mode – they just need help winning. Ladd’s winning experience and gritty play could help push Nashville into the playoffs, and the Predators’ plethora of defencemen could make them a fitting trade partner for Winnipeg — especially considering the Jets’ current situations with pending free agents Byfuglien and Jacob Trouba (RFA).
Also worth noting is the Peter Laviolette connection. Laviolette was behind the bench in Carolina when a rookie Ladd helped the team to its first-ever Stanley Cup. Laviolette is now in his second season in Nashville.
If we’re talking strictly rental here, a return to Chicago could make sense for Ladd. He was with the Blackhawks when they went deep into the playoffs in 2009, and he helped the club hoist the Stanley Cup in 2010 before being dealt the following off-season. The Blackhawks have been known to take on rentals, and in their effort to defend Lord Stanley, Ladd could be just the piece they need on their second and/or third line.
OK. Enough with the Western Conference — not to mention, Central Division — teams. Maybe not the greatest place to see your captain go. Let’s head east, shall we?
Easily the most surprising team in the NHL right now, it’s no surprise why we’re putting the Panthers on this list. The team’s general manager, Dale Tallon, has a good history with Ladd — Tallon traded for him in 2008 when he was at the helm of the Blackhawks. History aside, the Panthers could also use Ladd’s size on the wing, and his steady play would no doubt add some depth, flexibility and grit to Florida’s already-thriving forward corps.
The Canadiens need size. They definitely need scoring. And sure, they could use some winning experience, too, if they’re going to get themselves back into the playoff picture. Ladd could be just the kind of guy to give the oft-injured team the jump-start it needs. The addition of Ladd on the wing might also help Alex Galchenyuk make his desired move into centre full-time.
New York Islanders
This would certainly be a tough trade to make, as the Islanders aren’t exactly in the market for a rental, and would no doubt want some young, comparable talent (Trouba, for example) in return. But if the teams could make it work in a multi-player deal, it might still make sense. We know Hamonic wants to go to Winnipeg, and the Jets need to make a move, with all those pending free agents. In other words, we’re definitely not counting this possibility out.