The Winnipeg Jets traded left winger Andrew Ladd to the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday, per Darren Dreger of TSN, for right wing Marko Dano and a first-round draft pick.
Ladd, 30, has been a solid contributor for the Jets this season, scoring 17 goals and adding 17 assists. Coming into the 2015-16 season, he had scored 15 or more goals in seven straight seasons and 20 or more goals in four of his last seven campaigns.
He's been a key contributor to the team since joining it in the 2010-11 season (when the team was still the Atlanta Thrashers) after being traded by the Chicago Blackhawks, serving as the team's captain for the past five years.
"I think my game has really evolved since ... I'm excited to come and show what my game's all about now," Ladd said, per the Blackhawks.
But he and the Jets were never able to work out contract extension, likely due to the five-year, $38-million extension Dustin Byfuglien signed during the season and the pending restricted free agency this summer of young players like Mark Scheifele, Jacob Trouba and Adam Lowry.
The fact that Ladd's production has dipped this year and that he's gone from being on the team's first line to its third line also likely contributed to Winnipeg's decision to move him.
His former head coach, Paul Maurice, raved about how Ladd approached his new role, however.
"Quietly I’ve asked him to take on a real challenging role shift in his career," Maurice told Ed Tait of the Winnipeg Free Press in early February. "He’s done a lot of things really well that don’t end up on the scoresheet."
That's a reminder that Chicago is not only getting a proven goalscorer, but is also adding an excellent locker room presence and proven leader and certainly a player who is versatile enough to fill several roles. Ladd will absolutely bolster the Blackhawks' push to the postseason.
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