The Chicago Blackhawks have acquired Andrew Ladd from the Winnipeg Jets ahead of the trade deadline, the teams announced on Thursday night.
The trade will send Ladd back to Chicago, where he won the Stanley Cup back in 2010. The Blackhawks received Ladd, along with Jay Harrison and Matt Fraser, in exchange for 21-year-old forward Marko Dano plus a first-round draft pick in the 2016 NHL draft, according to the Chicago Tribune. The Jets also will receive a conditional draft pick.
Ladd was one of the most coveted players at the deadline, with teams like the Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals also interested, according to TSN. The Blackhawks stepped up and made the deal on Thursday night, adding a key piece to their top line as they try to make a Stanley Cup run. Earlier in the week, Gary Lawless at TSN reported that the asking price for Ladd was a first round draft pick and a top prospect, and that proved to be exactly what the Blackhawks traded in the deal.
Some teams were reportedly skittish at the high asking price, including the Panthers, but the Blackhawks opted to move forward despite the high ask. The Jets will keep 36 percent of Ladd's salary and his salary cap hit for this season, according to ESPN's sources. The conditional pick will be a 2018 third round selection if the Blackhawks make it to the Stanley Cup this season.
After winning the Cup with Chicago in 2010, Ladd was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers.
The Blackhawks had been looking to add a wing piece at the trade deadline to play on the top line alongside Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa. Ladd has 34 points this season, including 17 goals. Last year Ladd put up career numbers with 62 points, 24 goals and 38 assists, and he is hoping to make an impact for the Blackhawks.
"Regardless of who I play with, going to a team that has a chance at winning the Stanley Cup is an exciting prospect for anyone,'' Ladd said.
The Blackhawks have won three championships over the past six years and adding Ladd is proof that the team wants to go for another one. GM Stan Bowman has shown in the past he is not afraid to sacrifice young talent to help make his team better, and he did that again with Ladd. The team also may consider other deals at the deadline even after acquiring Ladd, including adding defensive help, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
"It's a great acquisition," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "There's a lot of familiarity. I'm sure his old teammates are pretty excited in a lot of ways. He brings the intangibles that you look for. He knows his way around our team. I'm sure he's excited to come to Chicago as well."
The Jets had tried to sign Ladd to an extension, but after not being able to come to an agreement, general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff moved ahead with a trade. Ladd is a pending free agent, but he is already thinking about the summer, telling the Chicago Sun-Times that he hopes "it turns out really well and I play well and it makes them think about re-signing me."