In this week’s edition of the Arizona Coyotes‘ 2021-22 offseason player reviews, we’ll take a look at veteran forward Andrew Ladd. After failing to play in an NHL game since the 2019-20 season, many were surprised to hear the Coyotes take on his contract, especially with the assumption that he was retired. That was not the case, as he suited up for 51 games with the Coyotes this season.
Despite seven goals and five assists for 12 points this past year, Ladd provided a veteran presence in the locker room, with a resume that includes two Stanley Cup championships. With one year left on his current contract, many wonder if the 2022-23 NHL season will be his last.
Ladd’s Season in Review
Ladd had quite a return to the NHL during the 2021-22 season, scoring his first goal in two years in the team’s second game of the season. From there he would bounce in-and-out and up-and-down in the lineup, adding six more goals to his NHL career totals, while also suffering an injury during mid-February, causing him to miss four to six weeks. His 12 points were his highest total since the 2017-18 season with the New York Islanders where he recorded 29 points.
This past season nevertheless was a special one for the Coyotes forward. In addition to making his NHL return for the first time since 2019, he played 1,000 career NHL games, an impressive milestone. His veteran leadership and presence did not go unnoticed either, with the organization naming him as their Bill Masterton Trophy nomination for his hard work, perseverance, and determination in finding his way back to the NHL. Regardless of everything this season, he’s already cemented his place as a solid top-six player in the NHL, and the Coyotes will benefit from having him around for another year.
What Ladd Can Improve On, Build Off Of
It’s hard at this stage of his career and in his situation to list off things Ladd can work on. He worked his way back to the NHL for the first time since the 2019-20 season where he played just four games. He defied odds by proving he could still play in the NHL. Nevertheless, he did struggle at times to keep pace with the play, along with failing to stay out of the box, accumulating 47 penalty minutes. Having played just one game the season before with the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Bridgeport Sound Tigers, it was expected that the veteran would be a bit rusty, and it showed.
Despite the rust, Ladd stayed true to his intentions of wanting to play and make his return to the league. He provided a leadership and vast knowledge to the team’s younger core. He scored and assisted a couple of times all while laying the body occasionally. But most importantly, when the team needed motivation or a refresh, Ladd was that guy. He was vocal, he was a teacher to the younger guys. He had everyone’s respect in that locker room. The Coyotes will need that again this upcoming season.
Ladd’s Next Moves
This summer will be filled with questions for Ladd. While under contract for next season, his future is unknown. While many expect him to be back for the 2022-23 season, there’s reason to wonder if he’ll call it a career this summer or next. He’s currently 36 years of age, and while he’s a wise reliable veteran who knows how to win games, he’s slowing down. He isn’t the guy he once was, but Arizona still brought him in and played him because he’s the kind of guy you want in the locker room.
He made a comeback when everyone thought he was done and retired. Whatever he decides to do whether it be play one last season, or hang them up this summer, the Coyotes will always hold a special place in Ladd’s heart for giving him the chance to play in the NHL again.
The Coyotes will look to their veterans during this rebuild and hopefully, for the team’s sake Ladd is one of them again for at least one more season. This offseason will only tell.
What do you think of Ladd? Lets us know in the comments section below. Next week is Jay Beagle.
Mr. Evans is originally from Greenville, SC where he currently resides. Mr. Evans has been involved in hockey for the past 18 years now, following the Arizona Coyotes and St. Louis Blues. During his free time, Mr. Evans enjoys spending time with his family and girlfriend as well as being up in the mountains or taking pictures. Prior to joining The Hockey Writers, Mr. Evans previously worked for The Puck Authority, covering the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL and FanSided’s Bleedin’ Blue, covering the St. Louis Blues. You can find Mr. Evans on Twitter at @HaynesPEvans.