Take a look around the league. Looking at the list of 29 captains in the NHL (Columbus doesn’t have a captain at the moment), you see some very distinguished names: Zdeno Chara, Jarome Iginla, Daniel Alfredsson, Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Henrik Sedin among many others. They are the cream of the crop of players in the NHL, and somewhere down that list of recognizable names you would finally get to Winnipeg Jets captain Andrew Ladd.
But, Ladd could be the most underrated captain of the bunch. He is currently the captain of the resurgent Jets, and is almost single-handedly carrying them on his back and willing them towards the playoffs. If you look at the standings today, the Jets occupy the #3 seed by virtue of being on top in the Southeast division and will be battling with the Hurricanes for that title over the next 20 games.
When you look at the scoring leaders, there are only 3 captains who have more points than Ladd – Sidney Crosby, Ryan Getzlaf and Henrik Zetterberg. His shooting percentage is almost on par with that of Steven Stamkos (20.0% vs 20.4%). Ladd also brings a physical style and a heart and sole mentality that makes Rangers captain Ryan Callahan such a recognized leader.
Yet, he has almost no notoriety around the league and although he would be a perfect fit, gets no mention when it comes to players who could be on Team Canada in Sochi in 11 months.
And Ladd has something that no other captain in the NHL has at the moment – A Stanley Cup ring on each hand. No other player wearing the C for their team has two championships, let alone with two different teams. A young Ladd was a member of the Hurricanes in 2006 and then was part of the Hawks’ great run in 2010. He wasn’t a captain on either of those teams, but he has translated those experiences and become one of the best leaders in the NHL today, even if nobody outside of Winnipeg knows it.