The Winnipeg Jets are still experiencing quite a few ups and downs in their second season in their new home, but have found a solid leader to take them into the future in captain and two-time Stanley Cup champion Andrew Ladd. The veteran winger has four goals and nine points to rank among the team’s leaders in scoring, and brings invaluable experience to a locker room filled with young players.
Now in his third season with the Thrasher/Jets franchise, Ladd won the Cup in 2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes, and again in 2010 with the Chicago Blackhawks. The Jets aren’t going to be getting him to the Finals for a third time in the near future, but he has embraced a leadership role with the team, and continues to put up consistent numbers for them. Ladd plays a high-energy game and has not only size but skill, known as much for dishing out big hits as scoring goals.
Ladd was traded to the Thrashers in 2010, and scored 29 goals and reached 59 points for the team during the 2010-11 season. He put up similar numbers last season in the Jets’ inaugural year, with 28 goals and 50 points. This season, he has thrived on a line with young center Alex Burmistrov and veteran winger Bryan Little. He is also a mainstay on the first power play unit and already has four points with the man-advantage this season.
The Jets have had some quality wins this season over the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals, but have also been blown out by the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning. They face one of the hardest travel schedules of the 2013 season, but could be a dark horse in the Southeast Division if goaltender Ondrej Pavelec can put together some consistent quality starts.