Andrew Ladd finally gets to skate with top Islanders' forwards
Yes, that is Andrew Ladd in a very realistic Spider-Man outfit playing with his children while the super hero’s iconic theme music plays in the latest entry on the TikTok account of the Islanders’ veteran left wing.
“It’s something I’ve been thinking about more throughout the break,” Ladd said of being active on TikTok. “I have some things I want to do after hockey to help with my foundation. There are not too many hockey guys on there. It’s a good opportunity to use that.”
Ladd, 34, still has three seasons remaining on a seven-year, $38.5 million deal but seemingly has a long way to go to re-establish himself as a regular in the Islanders’ lineup.
Thursday marked his first chance during Islanders’ Training Camp 2.0 to skate among the top 12 forwards, as he practiced on Brock Nelson’s left wing along with Josh Bailey.
He was limited to four games with the Islanders in 2019-20 before the season was paused on March 12 because of the COVID-19 pandemic as he spent the bulk of the season with the organization’s AHL affiliate in Bridgeport. He played just 26 games last season as he suffered injuries to both knees.
“I think I still have to prove myself,” Ladd said. “It’s been a long road back from those two knee surgeries. I’m just trying to gain their confidence. I’m in a good mind-frame and I know the player I can be and how I can help out and that’s just my goal, to help this team out and help them win.”
The Islanders face the Panthers in a best-of-five qualifying series starting on Aug. 1 in Toronto.
Ladd won Stanley Cups with the Hurricanes in 2006 and the Blackhawks in 2010.
He was in the Islanders’ lineup for the final two games before the season was paused and scored his lone NHL goal this season in a 5-4 shootout loss at Vancouver on March 10 as he logged 15:12.
“It was good mentally to know I could help and be productive,” Ladd said.
Added coach Barry Trotz, “Each time you get injured, you hold back a little bit. I think what you’re seeing is his health has gotten better and he’s got a better confidence of what he’s able to do. One thing he can do is he gets into that slot area and he can finish pretty well.”
Leo Komarov, still wearing a full shield, skated for the second straight day after missing the start of training camp with a facial injury. He worked with a secondary group that also included Oliver Wahlstrom and Kieffer Bellows, defenseman Sebastian Aho and Grant Hutton and goalies Christopher Gibson and Jakub Skarek…Tom Kuhnhackl was the lone Islander not to participate in Thursday’s practice. “It’s more of a maintenance unavailable,” Trotz said. “I don’t have real big concerns for any of our players. I think we’re as healthy and ready to go as anybody.”