After being involved in contract negotiations with the team since late May — when it was announced the franchise was relocating from Atlanta to Winnipeg — Ladd on Tuesday agreed to a five-year deal with the club, worth a reported $22 million.
Ladd said he expected to be named captain of the Jets after serving as the captain of the Atlanta Thrashers last season, and General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff confirmed that later in the afternoon. The 25-year-old restricted free agent agreed to the deal Tuesday, a few hours before he was eligible to file for salary arbitration.
“I have so much going, along with a lot of the other guys,” Ladd said in a conference call Tuesday afternoon. “I have a wedding coming up in a couple weeks, then I need to find a place in Winnipeg and move all my stuff in Atlanta out to Winnipeg. So it’s nice to finally have this over with.”
“I think both sides were pretty confident in getting it done,” Ladd said, adding that he never thought the negotiations would result in arbitration. “And I appreciate the effort they made to not only give me a long-term deal but to get it done as quickly as possible. As a player, that’s exciting and I appreciate that.”
Ladd said he knew he could have opted for a one-year contract and then tested the waters of unrestricted free agency next summer. However, he didn’t want that. He likes his role on the team — in terms of being a leader as well as major contributor — and wanted the stability of a long-term deal.
In six seasons Ladd has played for three different teams, and Winnipeg will be the fourth city he’s called home since making his NHL debut during the 2005-06 season.
“It seemed every time I get comfortable in the city I lived in and meet the people that were there, then I’d kind of get shipped out to a difference place,” Ladd said. “To be able to settle down and meet the people in the community and get ingrained in the community with my fiancé is going to be an exciting thing.
It’s even more exciting to be in Western Canada. The British Columbia native said to be able to play in Canada is a “big thing for any hockey player.” Ladd will be watched closely in Winnipeg and with already winning 2 stanley cups the expectations are high.
Good Luck in Winnipeg and the wedding!