Andrew Ladd has one thing that no other New York Islanders player has: two Stanley Cups.
Ladd, whom the Islanders signed to a seven-year deal on Friday, has lifted hockey’s holy grail with two different teams and he’s looking to bring some of that championship know-how to New York.
“I am looking forward to the challenge of helping this team get to the next level,” Ladd said. “And that’s a Stanley Cup.”
Because the former Winnipeg Jets captain has been there before – with Carolina in 2006 and Chicago in 2010 – he knows what it takes and likes the foundation the Islanders have laid in recent years.
“I wanted to be with a team that I think has a chance to win,” Ladd said. “Any team with John Tavares on it, the goaltending and the defense that the Islanders have they are very close.”
The 30-year-old Ladd scored 46 points (25G, 21A) in 78 games last year with Winnipeg and Chicago, the fifth straight full season he’s had at least 23 goals. So while part of the reason he’s here is his character, the Maple Ridge, BC, native knows how to put the puck in the net.
“Andrew is a highly skilled, versatile, heart-and-soul type of player and we’re thrilled to welcome him to the Islanders organization,” Islanders’ General Manager Garth Snow said. “He’s a leader and proven winner who will help our team continue to build towards a Stanley Cup championship.”
Ladd can play in any situation, as he was one of Winnipeg’s most-used penalty killers and was on the Jets’ top power-play unit. With the Islanders experiencing a bit of a roster shakeup on July 1, Ladd’s versatility is key. He’s also looking forward to the prospect of playing with Tavares.
“I’m beyond excited to have a chance to play with someone of his caliber,” Ladd said. “I’ve had the opportunity to play with [Jonathan] Toews and [Patrick] Kane, those types of generational players and I think [Tavares] is one of those guys. I can’t wait and hopefully we find some chemistry pretty quick.”
Ladd also said he liked that the Islanders d-corps was signed long-term.
“They are trending in the right direction,” he said. “They have a lot of their D signed long term in a great situation cap-wise to add players and keep this thing going in the right direction. All of those things added up.”
As much as he likes the on-ice direction of Islanders, the veteran winger is also a husband and father, so making sure his family was comfortable was a high priority. The Islanders brought Ladd to Long Island on Wednesday to tour their new practice facility and the area. Ladd had only seen a very limited slice of Long Island as a visiting player, so a personal tour with Assistant Coach – and former teammate – Doug Weight was an eye-opener.
“As a player you don’t get a great idea of what Long Island is and what there is on Long Island,” Ladd said. “Obviously the new practice facility they have now is something I had never seen before. Just to get a chance to see what they are doing there was pretty cool and seeing the surrounding area, it’s a beautiful area and a great place for a guy with a family.”
Jason Chimera, whom the Islanders signed to a two-year deal on Friday, echoed the sentiment.
“No one ever says they hated playing there,” Chimera said of Long Island. “Everyone says they love living there, they choose to live there for the rest of their life.”
Ladd said that things added up for him when he considered signing with the Islanders. It’s an easy equation in his mind: a good, young team with a superstar leader plus new facilities and a family-oriented community. To him, that equation adds up to a third personal Stanley Cup.
And in adding a proven scorer, leader and winner in Ladd, the Islanders hope they’ve got the variable in their Stanley Cup equation.