Pittsburgh Penguins Trade Talk: Could Andrew Ladd Be a Fit in the Steel City?


When asked to assess the damage after a disappointing finish for the 2014-2015 Pittsburgh Penguins, General Manager Jim Rutherford lamented the lack of offensive production down the stretch. He did, however, issue his hope to add a top-six winger to the roster, claiming that it would be one of his primary goals. And now, as rumors begin to swirl about the league, it would appear that one player could fall squarely into Rutherford’s crosshairs.

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Andrew Ladd, the captain of the Winnipeg Jets, is coming off the best season of his career. The 6’3″, 200 pound forward netted 62 points (24G, 38A) across 81 games. This is simply the latest in a streak of solid seasons for Ladd. Since becoming the team’s captain in 2011 when they moved to Winnipeg, Ladd has scored at least 46 points each season. He has also missed no more than four games in a season since 2007-2008 season.

He is also a proven force generating shots, as well as suppressing the opposing offense. His HERO Chart, courtesy of Own The Puck, clearly highlights his more subtle capabilities.

Courtesy of Own The Puck.

Also, consider that Rutherford was the man who originally drafted Ladd to the Carolina Hurricanes back in 2004, where they celebrated a Stanley Cup together in 2006. This bond has almost surely not been forgotten by either party, which could make a desire to reunite a mutual affair.

Ladd’s solid play, larger-than-average size, proven leadership chops and durability, coupled with the history established between him and Rutherford, point to him being a particularly attractive candidate for the Pittsburgh Penguins to add to their squad. However, as is true in any deal, there are numerous things to consider.

The Jets are coming off their first playoff berth. While the run ended unsuccessfully, having been swept by the Western Conference Finals-bound Anaheim Ducks, the team posted 99 points, a new high for the franchise.  After such a successful season, how much top-end talent are the Jets looking to move this summer?

Also, Ladd will be 30 years old during the upcoming season, when he enters the final year of his $4.4 million contract. The Penguins are already widely criticized for having too much money invested in a small number of players, which has created a tremendous inability to create depth. Adding another forward would seem to simply be an affirmation of the team’s infamous “win now” philosophy.

Lastly, Andrew Ladd has a limited no-movement clause.  Though details are unknown, he would obviously have to approve any trades.

You also have to ask yourself, what do the Pittsburgh Penguins have to offer? The answer is clearly not a whole lot. Pittsburgh could try to pawn off one of their more unsavory contracts, such as Chris Kunitz, but a more likely option will be a young defenseman or some draft picks. While the team does have a surplus of defensive prospects, making an older team even older will do nothing but harm.

Ladd makes for an interesting possibility, but tacking on a forward entering his thirties (when the average forward peaks at 25 and the Penguins are already old as is) does not make a whole lot of sense. Additionally, the cost of obtaining another team’s captain and the cap hit that would be inflicted would ultimately not benefit the organization.

Rutherford’s desire to add a top-six forward to the Pittsburgh Penguins this summer undoubtedly came from a good place, but he would be much advised to try and build through drafting and development rather than costly trade acquisitions that have already begun to run the team dry.

What are your thoughts on a talent like Andrew Ladd?

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