RFA Analysis: Analyzing the Andrew Ladd Contract
Tuesday was a big day in the history of the Winnipeg Jets 2.0. Team captain and points leader Andrew Ladd was signed to a five-year contract (to read Ladd’s comments on the signing click here) for a total payout of $22 million dollars. That, of course, equates to an annual salary cap hit of $4.4 million per season.
The contract will see him paid $4.0 million in 2011/12, or his final restricted free agent (RFA) season, followed by the next four seasons at $4.5 million per. Beginning in 2012/13 Ladd would have been an unrestricted free agent (UFA) and open to sign with whatever team he wished. That is what made the timing of this contract so important.
Make no mistake, Andrew Ladd’s agent rightfully waited for July 1 to hit prior to penning his client to any form of long-term agreement. Ladd flew into Winnipeg in early June, said all the rights things to the media and held much more leverage than the Jets in this negotiation.
More on Ladd’s worth after the jump.
We have discussed his worth both in our team analysis, as well as on IC Radio and pegged his value (no pun intended) at somewhere just below $4.0 million per season. Ladd is a second line left-winger; one who can play in all situations and brings valuable intangibles to the table.
However, it was the value of Ladd’s contemporaries in Erik Cole, Brooks Laich and Ville Leino that set the 25-year-old BC native’s market value for these contract negotiations.
Remember, Ladd was arbitration eligible and thereby dictated this process with more power than say, Zach Bogosian—a player without arbitration eligibility. We touched on the topic of arbitration eligibility and a team’s options in yesterday’s post about Anthony Stewart.
His agent probably told Kevin Cheveldayoff that Ladd could easily declare for arbitration, which he would have had to have done by yesterday at 4:00 p.m. Winnipeg time and await an arbitrator’s ruling if the parties could not come to an agreement prior to then. As touched on yesterday, a team has walk away rights with respect to player-elected arbitration but there was absolutely no way that the Jets would walk away from an arbitrator’s ruling regarding Ladd. So, Ladd could have forced arbitration, walked away with at least $3.4 million in arbitration (ballpark minimum figure) and then have been a UFA the season after.
Judging by the market this past July 1, Ladd could have created a bidding war for his services as a 26-year-old forward with two Stanley Cups, good size and scoring ability. All of these factors, along with all of Ladd’s good playing qualifies, provided ammunition for Kevin Cheveldayoff to get a deal done sooner rather than later. Forget the symbolism though, the timing of this deal had as much to do with marketability and practicality as it did a symbol for the team’s future.
Back to the contracts signed on July 1, here are the 2010/11 statistics for the aforementioned three UFAs and their accompanying statistics.
|Player||Age||Contract signed (cap hit/term)||Ice-time per-game (Power play/evens strength/penalty kill)||Points per 60 minutes (Even strength/Power play)||2010/11 salary in cap hit|
|Erik Cole||32||($4.5/4 years)||2:42/14:22/2:42||2.16/2.27||$2.9 million|
|Ville Leino||27||($4.5/6 years)||2:18/13:42/0||2.21/3.54||$800,000|
|Brooks Laich||28||($4.5/6 years)||2:59/13:07/2:18||1.81/2.38||$2.06 million|
Here are the same statistics for Andrew Ladd in comparison:
|Andrew Ladd||25||($4.4/4 years)||3:02/15:08/1:53||1.85/3.85||$2.35 million|
Ladd compares favourably to the three forwards listed above. He logged bigger minutes, played against tough competition and fared quite well. His numbers are very similar to Laich, for the most part. You can bet that once Laich signed, Ladd’s agent was using him as a base comparable (both signed for $4.5 million per season covering UFA years). Simply, Ladd let the market dictate his value and it worked like a charm.
Winnipeg had little in the way of leverage and that is not even taking into consideration public perception and pressure to sign the “face of the franchise.”
All in all, the Jets paid a bit more for Ladd than he is worth, but considering the circumstances, the organization did quite well.