The Hurricanes signed Ward to a two-year contract extension Thursday. He will be paid $3.5 million in 2016-17 and $3.1 million in 2017-18. Ward has a decade's worth of service time in the NHL spent exclusively with the Hurricanes. He led the Canes to the Promised Land for the first time in franchise history back in 2006. A common thought among hockey pundits heading into the 2015-16 season was that Ward would be heavily challenged by Eddie Lack for the No. 1 job. However, that didn't come to fruition as Lack underwhelmed, nor were the bosses in Carolina keen on letting Ward warm the bench while cutting $6.3 million from the cap. Ward has bested his career GAA of 2.70 in each of the past two seasons, suggesting that he still has some gas left in the tank. Given that he previously had a hefty contract, it's no surprise that he wasn't traded last year, but his price tag under the new deal seems reasonable for a team that needs reliability between the pipes.
Ward finished the 2015-16 season with a record of 23-17-10, along with a GAA of 2.41 and .909 save percentage. While it was nice to see Ward and the Canes finish with a winning record this season, Ward's peripheral stats were mediocre at best. Now an unrestricted free agent, it remains unclear whether Ward will re-sign with the Canes for an 11th season or ply his trade with another team. At this point, the Canes could either turn the reins over to backup Eddie Lack (whose numbers were even worse than Ward's this year), or try to bring in some new blood via the free agency route. Stay tuned.
Ward turned aside 27 of 31 shots in a 4-2 loss to the Canadiens on Thursday. Ward certainly wasn't at his best in this one, giving up goals in each period. The veteran netminder has recorded a 23-16-10 record to go with a .910 save percentage and 2.37 GAA in 51 appearances this season.
Ward will be between the pipes in Thursday's home game against the Canadiens. Ward was fantastic in his last outing, stopping 35 of 36 shots en route to a 2-1 win over the Bruins on Tuesday. The 32-year-old netminder will look to pick up his 24th win of the season Thursday in a favorable home matchup with a struggling Montreal team that has lost four of its last six games.
Ward stopped 35 of the 36 shots he faced in Tuesday's 2-1 shootout win over the Bruins. The veteran goaltender looked very strong in this one, carrying a shutout into the third period. Although he allowed Loui Eriksson to tie the game in the third period, he stopped everything he faced in the overtime period and the shootout. That's now back-to-back wins, and three victories in his last four starts for the 32-year-old. Despite playing well recently, Ward can still be difficult to trust for fantasy lineups.
Last 7 Games
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