SPORTSNET’S Elliotte Friedman reports the Winnipeg Jets have traded left wing Andrew Ladd, defenseman Jay Harrison and forward Matt Fraser to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for right wing Marko Dano, a first-round draft pick plus a conditional pick, reportedly a third-round pick in 2018 if the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup this year.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets also retain 38 percent of Ladd’s remaining cap hit. I doubt there’s any real surprise that Ladd got traded or that he’s returning to the Blackhawks, where he won his second Stanley Cup in 2010.
The writing was on the wall for the now-former Jets captain when Dustin Byfuglien received a lucrative new contract. The Jets were willing to invest in one or the other but not both. Having decided on Byfuglien, it was only a matter of time until Ladd was traded.
Though it’s been nearly six years since Ladd last skated with the Blackhawks, he shouldn’t have much difficulty fitting back into their roster. Head coach Joel Quenneville is still behind the bench plus the core of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook remains intact. Given Ladd’s experience and physical two-way style, he should be a good fit at left wing on either their first or second line. With the Jets retaining part of his remaining cap hit, it should allow the Blackhawks sufficient cap room to pursue a depth defenseman. Harrison won’t be it, as he’s been in the minors this season with Fraser.
The Jets receive a promising winger in Dano, who the Blackhawks acquired from Columbus last summer in the Brandon Saad trade. The 21-year-old is considered to be a versatile offensive forward, but he only played 13 games this season with the ‘Hawks, along with 23 points in 34 games with their AHL farm team. Dano has potential, but the fact he’s now on his third team in a year raises some questions about his future as an NHL scorer. He’ll get an opportunity to prove himself on a Jets club that isn’t engaged in a full-blown rebuild, but is nevertheless in a state of transition.