It was easy to jump down the Jets throats on July 1st thru 4th but on the 5th the Jets signed the best player available to them in their captain Andrew Ladd. You may be asking how was Ladd the best player available to them, you mean after all the others have signed in the past few days right? Wrong.
Let’s take a look at the “big” unrestricted free agents that were available on July 1st and why Ladd was the big fish they wanted to sign, and what it means to this franchise going forward.
Last Year: GP 81, G 19, A 34, P 53
Deal Signed with BUF: 6 years at $4.5 mil/yr cap hit
Cost per point based on last years stats: $84,905
Last Year: GP 72, G 28, A 49, P 77
Deal Signed with NYR: 9 Years at $6.67 mil/yr cap hit
Actual deal has over $30 mil in bonuses and a No Trade Clause. It’s very unlikely Richards will be putting up 77 points a year at age 40.
Cost per point based on last years stats: $86, 580
Last Year: GP 68, G 13, A 29, P 42
Deal Signed with TOR: 2 years at $4.75 mil/yr cap hit
Cost per point based on last years stats: $113,095
Last Year: GP 45, G 12, A 19, P 31
Deal Signed with FLA:4 years at $4.5 mil/yr cap hit
Cost per point based on last years stats: $145,161
Last Year: GP 81, G 29, A 30, P 59
Deal Signed with WPG: 5 years at $4.4 mil/yr cap hit
Actual deal has $3 mil in bonuses and a modified No Trade Clause
Cost per point based on last years stats: $74,576
In an off season when the free agents available were not elite and the elite players were restricted the Jets did the smartest thing for this franchise long term. They signed the best value deal available to them. Sure there are other players that will be signed to $1-2 million dollar deals that will get enough points to be a better value but when it comes to the better players that were available locking up Andrew Ladd a two time Stanley Cup winner and team captain at only 25 years old thru to his 30th birthday was more important then getting there name in the Brad Richards hunt or landing one of the other “marquee” free agents that were available to them.
I don’t think any Jets fan would rather have had Leino or Connolly or Fleischmann over Ladd and sure it may have been nice to add another scorer but signing any one of those would not have made sense with Winnipeg’s plan and may have handcuffed them being able to resign Evander Kane and Brian Little to the contracts they will need next year.
With Ladd’s upside and experience locking him up thru his prime years while still maintaining the flexibility to trade him should things not work out is a much better value for this team and should be an extremely promising sign for fans that this team will build and be a competitor for many years to come.