Winnipeg Jets captain Andrew Ladd responded today after practice to reports that contract negotiations had broken down between his representatives and Jets management.
Ladd told reporters he didn't think anything in the situation has changed and stopped short of saying he was disappointed that it's taken this long to get a deal done.
"Listen, there's a lot of guys that are going through the exact same thing, I'm not the only one in this situation, that's a part of the game. It's something obviously we've been dealing with but your focus is on hockey and trying to win hockey games," said Ladd.
The Jets have lost three consecutive games and have managed a meager 3-6-1 record in their last 10 games. The February 29th trade deadline is fast approaching and as the team continues to slip down in the standings the likelihood of management dealing away expiring contracts for other assets begins to grow. Even though it is hard to imagine not being the captain here, Ladd said anything is possible.
'Anything can happen and things change quickly so you never know.' - Andrew Ladd
"At this time it's hard for me to see that, I've also been around long enough to realize that anything can happen and things change quickly so you never know," said Ladd.
Ladd has been a big piece of the team leadership since the Jets relocated to Winnipeg. Ladd was the first former Thrasher player to fly to Winnipeg to meet management and report back to the other players on what the organization was like. He's been the captain of the club ever since. There were reports in the summer that Ladd and the Jets were close to a deal but nothing has materialized.
"I think if you asked both sides, both sides would have hoped to have something done by now. but that's part of the business, the game too, so it's something you deal with and keep working on it," said Ladd.
To add to the trickiness of the situation, Ladd — who had a career 62-point year last season — hasn't been producing to the level that was expected of him.
"I think he had a a bit of slow start. I think it was coming off his injury, he missed most of camp as well, got back up to playing well. I think the last three games he's played like everyone else.," said Jets bench boss Paul Maurice.
In the past five seasons, Ladd has only once had under 50 points and that was in the lockout shortened season when he had 46 points in 48 games.
There are a lot of moving pieces for Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff when it comes to Andrew Ladd.
- Can he lock in all-star defenceman Dustin Byfuglien to a reasonable contract?
- Is the Jets depth ready to step up if Ladd isn't a part of the picture?
- What kind of contracts are restricted free agents Mark Scheifele, Jacob Trouba and Adam Lowry going to be looking for this summer?
- Is there anything left over in the team budget that would be enough to sign Ladd before he has no choice but to send him packing?
While the focus remains on trying to win hockey games, Ladd admits that it is a situation that is less than ideal.
"Anybody in this situation would obviously, the easiest thing to have happen is to get something done and understand where you're going to be for you and your family but that's ideal, that's not how it happens every year."