Andrew Ladd is making the most of his increased role with the Thrashers. The forward is off to the fastest start on his NHL career, one year after being traded to Atlanta from Stanley Cup winning Chicago.
Ladd is off to a point-a-game start with eight points (three goals, five assists) in eight games. In his two seasons, with Chicago, Ladd’s eighth point came in Game No. 19. In his first season, after being called up by Carolina (2005-06) he scored four goals in his first seven games. It still took him 15 games to reach eight points.
“Usually I’m pretty slow off the start,” Ladd said. “The last three years the first 10 games I really didn’t produce much.”
Ladd says the reason is simple. He is getting more playing time – on special teams and even strength. In Chicago, Ladd primarily played 5-on-5 hockey.
“I’m playing a lot,” Ladd said. “It keeps you in the game more when you are playing power play, penalty kill and even strength. That’s the good thing about [coach Craig Ramsay]. He tries to keep everyone in the game.
“… Only playing 5-on-5 sometimes there are a lot of penalties and you are sitting there waiting, waiting, waiting. It’s tough to stay in the game. If you are out there for PK it keeps you in the game, it keeps your legs going. I found that’s helped a lot.”
You can count Ladd as one of the Thrashers not happy with the team’s 3-4-1 start – including two games against Washington and Tampa Bay and a West Coast road trip.
“I’m not happy with it,” he said. “I think we as a team shouldn’t be happy with it. I think there were a lot of games were if we would have put in a better effort we would have gotten a better result. I think the game in L.A. was there for us to take. We didn’t show up against Tampa. The last game against Washington we played well enough to win, we just made mental errors at the bad times. Those are the things we have to get committed to doing because we are just pretty much giving away points.”