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New York Islanders

Islanders Andrew Ladd: ‘It was nice to get a game’

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Andrew Ladd

When the puck dropped on Game 2 Wednesday night, it had been 183 days since Andrew Ladd last played in an NHL game. And it marked the first time Ladd appeared in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The veteran NHLer played 17 shifts and saw 11:50 of ice time in the New York Islanders Game 2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Ladd was also given 3:50 of time on the power play.

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“It was nice to get a game,” Ladd said. “I think the first period things were moving pretty quick and as the game went along it kind of slows down and you can start making some plays. Just get a little more comfortable. It was fun to be back out there with the group and trying to contribute.”

Ladd has not played much for the Islanders this year, even during the regular season. He appeared in four games with the Islanders, three of which came in the final weeks of the season before COVID-19 halted play.

The 34-year-old also appeared in two games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Don’t Blame Greene and His Turnover for Kucherov Goal

Ladd has been part of a group of extras up with the Islanders who have been biding their time waiting for a shot to get in the lineup. Michael Dal Colle and Ross Johnston have also been among that group and have cycled in and out of the Islanders’ lineup.

“I think mentally it can be a grind, especially when you’re not playing,” Ladd said. “I think as a group, the guys not playing, we’ve tried to bring energy to the skates that we’ve had. Use that to stay mentally sharp and just sometimes resetting. everyday. There’s been a few days where there’s been some frustration so you try to come back the next day with the right mindset and go from there.”

Ladd was on the ice in the final 30 seconds of Game 2, when the Islanders allowed the game-winning goal to Nikita Kucherov with 7.8 seconds left. Trotz told reporters after the game that his decision to play Ladd had to do with his experience and resiliency this season.

“He’s had some major injuries. He’s played very well for a long time,” Trotz said on Wednesday. “It’s hard enough in the bubble mentally to stay focused and find all the things that you need mentally and emotionally. And when you’re not in the game it’s got to be a lot tougher. I give Andrew and our extra guys who’ve worked and pushed each other.

“I knew he was ready. The coaches said he was ready. … I just felt it was his time.”

Thunder Struck: Late Goal Sinks New York Islanders in Game 2

Ladd also brought another invaluable resource to the Islanders in playoff experience. Ladd won two Stanley Cups over his career — one in Carolina and one in Chicago — and has 65 playoff games under his belt.

So he’s been in the position before that the Islanders currently find themselves in.

“I think you turn the page,” Ladd said. “Look at some things you can improve on and look at some things that we did really well and go from there.”

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Bridgeport Sound Tigers

He’s Back! Josh Ho-Sang Returns to Islanders on 1-Year Deal

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Josh Ho-Sang

If you thought Josh Ho-Sang’s time with the New York Islanders was over, guess again.

The Islanders and Josh Ho-Sang came to terms on a 1-year contract extension on Tuesday and avoided an arbitration hearing which had been scheduled for Friday. The short-term deal is worth $700,000 if he plays in the NHL and $200,000 if he ends up in Bridgeport, according to Elliotte Friedman who first reported the news on Tuesday morning.

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Ho-Sang has had a rocky history with the Islanders since the organization drafted him 29th overall in 2014. The now 24-year-old forward has struggled to crack the Islanders lineup and his outspoken nature has often caused himself headaches.

Josh Ho-Sang requested a trade last season and was told by Islanders general manager not to report to AHL Bridgeport while they worked to find a place to send him. The naturally skilled forward did end up reporting to Bridgeport after the Islanders failed to move him and they eventually loaned Ho-Sang to St. Louis’ AHL team in San Antonio.

Ho-Sang has appeared in 53 NHL games with the Islanders and registered seven goals and 17 assists in that span.

Both the Islanders decision to send Ho-Sang a qualifying offer and then Ho-Sang’s decision to file for arbitration surprised many people. Lamoriello sounded perplexed several weeks ago when he was asked about it during a media conference call on Zoom.

“I’m sure you’re all aware that he filed for arbitration, which I was very surprised at,” Lamoriello said at the time. “We’ll have to see what the future brings.”

It’s unclear what role the Islanders envision for Ho-Sang going into next season.

In addition, the Islanders also announced that A.J. Greer had signed a one-year contract as well. Greer was acquired from the Colorado Avalanche in a trade that saw the Islanders send Kyle Burroughs to the Mile High City.

Greer had been a restricted free agent.

Fellow RFA defensemen Mitch Vande Sompel and Parker Wotherspoon signed two-year contract extensions on Tuesday as well.

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Free Agency

What Will Mat Barzal’s Next Contract Look Like? | NYHN+

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Mat Barzal of the New York Islanders

It is the question that is on every New York Islanders fans’ mind. When will Mat Barzal be re-signed by the Islanders and what will that contract look like?

The 23-year-old Islanders star is due for a pay raise and the team is under a major cap crunch at the moment with just $8.9 million left for next season to work with to re-sign Barzal, fellow restricted free agent Ryan Pulock and possibly some unrestricted free agents. The NHL’s flat salary cap for the foreseeable future also throws a rather unique twist into the already complicated Barzal equation.

Right now the Islanders priority is clearing cap space so that they can work out a deal with Barzal. As has been reported here and various other outlets, Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy, Andrew Ladd and Leo Komarov are all contracts that could be moved to free up space.

The Case for the New York Islanders to Sign Anthony Duclair

All of those carry a sizable cap hit and general manager Lou Lamoriello needs to clear at least one or two of those to have some wiggle room to work. That is what has held up the rest of the Islanders offseason plans, including re-signing their most valuable piece.

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Hockey Night in New York

PODCAST: Taking Your New York Islanders Questions

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New York Islanders podcast Hockey Night in New York

In addition to covering the New York Islanders here at NYI Hockey Now, I co-host a weekly radio show and podcast called Hockey Night in New York, with Sean Cuthbert. The show airs live every Sunday night at 9 p.m. and is available on all major podcast platforms immediately after the show ends.

This week on Hockey Night in New York, Sean and I took listener questions on everything from the depth of the prospect pool in Bridgeport to should the New York Islanders look at breaking up the “best fourth line in hockey.”

You can subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts here or follow us on Spotify here.

Welcome to your new home for New York Islanders breaking news, analysis and opinion. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and don't forget to subscribe to NYHN+ for all of our members-only content from Christian Arnold and the National Hockey Now network.
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