The New York Islanders didn’t make a big splash at the trade deadline yesterday, but it may still feel like it to the dressing room. Today the team officially activated Andrew Ladd and Thomas Hickey from injured reserve and both are expected to be in the lineup tonight against the Calgary Flames.
Ladd hasn’t played in a game since November 13th but was actually off to an excellent start under new head coach Barry Trotz. After two seasons of struggles in New York, Ladd had seven points in his first 14 games while playing a reduced role and will hopefully bring some of that success back to the ice tonight. The veteran forward is regarded well for his leadership qualities and defensive acumen, but will need more than just that to help the Islanders run the table and hold onto first place in the Metropolitan Division.
While Ladd may be the more notable name, Hickey certainly brings more impact. The 30-year old is a reliable two-way defenseman that can play in almost any situation for the Islanders and has been out more than two months with an upper-body injury. He’d been averaging the most ice time of his career under Trotz, and could very well work his way into the top group of defensemen once again.
Both players will feel like deadline additions given their long absences, and the team is relying on them to be competitive assets to them down the stretch and into the future. In fact, both Ladd and Hickey are signed long-term and will be a part of this team as they continue to grow. Ladd is under contract through 2022-23 at a cap hit of $5.5MM, while Hickey will earn an average of $2.5MM per season through 2021-22.