The New York Islanders will be heading into the playoffs without one of their veteran leaders, as head coach Barry Trotz told reporters including Andrew Gross of Newsday that Andrew Ladd will be out four to five months with a torn ACL. That rules him out for the playoffs, though the team is hoping he’ll be ready for training camp next season.
That hope though may be tested, as Ladd is no longer a young pup able to rebound quickly from injury. Now 33, the former Winnipeg Jets captain has already experienced a knee injury in his other leg and will finish this season with just 26 games played. The veteran forward was once one of the most reliable two-way wingers in the game, bringing a mix of physicality, defense and scoring touch to the ice on a nightly basis. Now, he will end with his lowest point total since his rookie season of 2005-06 and could very well start next year on long-term injured reserve.
Unfortunately for the Islanders, Ladd still has four years left on his current contract and unless he’s going to sit on LTIR and essentially retire, he has to find some modicum of health in order to contribute. The team signed him to a seven-year, $38.5MM deal in the summer of 2016 that included a full no-trade clause through the end of 2019-20. Even after that he’ll still have a 15-team no-trade list, and his contract is almost buyout proof because of the hefty signing bonuses.
The Islanders will try to make a splash this postseason without him, and it appears as though Michael Dal Colle will get the first chance to replace him in the lineup. The former top prospect has seemingly put it all together this year and become a legitimate NHL player, but will have to show he has what it takes to compete in the playoffs.