On the day of the one-year anniversary of the Blackhawks’ first Stanley Cup in 49 years, Kevin Cheveldayoff and Andrew Ladd had a chance to reminiscence together.
But it was in Winnipeg, where Cheveldayoff, the new franchise’s general manager, showed Ladd, the team’s prized restricted free agent, around.
“There were some good memories [of the title run], and we talked about the future and moving forward,” Cheveldayoff said in phone interview with the Sun-Times.
Cheveldayoff left the Hawks last Wednesday after being the team’s assistant general manager the past two years. He was in charge of the day-to-day management of the salary cap. So he knows how tough it is to say goodbye to Ladd, a character player who can skate on all four lines, because of the hard cap.
So keeping him in Winnipeg is his first priority. Ladd captained the Atlanta Thrashers last season and scored a career-high 29 goals. He’s everything teams need: a glue guy, a sandpaper player, a first-line wing, a checking forward, etc.
It was a good sign for fans in Winnipeg — and not for Hawks fans, who were holding out hope (an outside chance really) that he would return to Chicago — that Ladd visited their city.
“[Ladd] planned the trip and came on his own,” Cheveldayoff said. “He wanted to look around. His fianc was with him and his agent. He took the initiative himself. … He’s got a busy summer, but he took the time to check out the market himself. It says a lot about his character.”