BRIDGEPORT, C.T. – In the midst of the New York Islanders’ winning streak, they’ve dealt with ample injuries and sicknesses allowing others the opportunity to play meaningful minutes in the beginning of the season. One player who started the season still rehabbing, got his first game action with the Sound Tigers Saturday evening.
Andrew Ladd—a rugged winger of almost 1,000 career games—is looking to return with the big club and understands he’s supposed to be an integral cog of the team, after signing a seven-year contract in the summer of 2016 to play alongside John Tavares.
Saturday morning, the Islanders placed Ladd on long-term injured reserve and sent him to Bridgeport for conditioning. This was the second time in two seasons that the winger was sent to Connecticut on a conditioning stint.
“For me, my knee felt good,” said Ladd about getting back into game action. “That’s what I wanted to feel today. The hands weren’t quite there yet. They’ll catch up to the feet eventually.”
Unlike the current crop of Islanders, Ladd’s injuries have been longer-term. The Islanders have played 259 regular-season games since inking the rugged forward, but Ladd has suited up in 177 of those games.
And he’s only appeared in 26 games since Barry Trotz took over behind the bench last year. Ladd was sidelined at the end of March due to an ACL injury.
Last year, Ladd made the most of his time in Bridgeport scoring one goal and adding four assists in two games before being recalled by the Islanders. In his first game of action in 2019-20, Ladd wanted to keep things simple.
“I was kind of reacting. Go out, play and react,” said Ladd.
Ladd is no stranger to professional hockey, having made his NHL debut back during the 2005-06 season with the Carolina Hurricanes. Adding a veteran presence to the room can go a long way for a Sound Tigers team currently trending in the wrong direction, dropping their eighth straight contest following a 3-2 loss at home to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
“Poised with the puck,” said coach Brent Thompson. “You can see he has NHL skill. I think it’s nice that the guys get to see how he prepares for a game and obviously a really good piece right now. Hope we can take advantage of it.”
Ladd finished the game with two shots on goal and helped win a puck battle that led to Simon Holmstrom’s go-ahead goal in the second period.
The Sound Tigers are back in action Sunday afternoon against the Phantoms who are currently riding an eight-game point streak.
Photo Courtesy: Greg Vasil/Bridgeport Sound Tigers