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Behind The Bench: Cam Ward

by on 10/07/2011

Vitals

Born: Saskatoon, SK, CAN
Birth date: February 29, 1984
Height: 6’1 (185 cm)
Weight: 194 lbs (88 kg)
Position: Goaltender
Catches: Left
NHL Draft: 25th overall by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2002
NHL Team: Carolina Hurricanes
Jersey No.: #30
National Team: Canada
NHL Contract: 15/16
Cap Hit: $6,300,000

History

Ward made the Hurricanes roster out of training camp during the 2005-06 as the team’s backup goaltender. He had a solid rookie season with 14 wins and 8 losses with a 3.68 GAA and he really shined during the Hurricanes 2006 Playoff run. After Gerber struggled in the opening round of the playoffs resulting in a 0-2 series deficit, Peter Laviolette took a gamble on ward in game three resulting in a series comeback. Ward stayed in net for the rest of the playoffs and helped the Hurricanes capture their first and only Stanley Cup in franchise history. Ward became only the second goaltender in history to lead his team to a Stanley Cup victory as a rookie goalie since Patrick Roy. He also tied a rookie record for playoff wins (15) previously held by Roy and Ron Hextall and became the first rookie goalie to win the Conn Smythe Trophy since Hextall did in 1987.

The Hurricanes and Ward were unable to follow up their success during the 2006-07 season. Despite appearing in 60 games and posting a 30-21-6 record with 2 SO, 2.93 GAA, and a .897 Sv%, the Hurricanes finished eleventh in the East and failed to make the playoffs. Ward continued to post strong numbers the following season as he appeared in 69 games and posted a 37-25-5 record with 4 SO, a 2.75 GAA, and a .904 Sv%, but for the second staright year, the team failed to make a playoff appearance.

It took until the 2008-09 season for the Hurricanes to make another playoff appearance. The team as a whole started off the season slowly but had a strong finish after making moves throughout the season and during the trade deadline to acquire key pieces. Ward appeared in 68 games and posted a career high 39 wins, 23 losses, 5 overtime losses and a career-best 6 shutouts. He also finished with a career-best 2.44 GAA and a .916 Sv%. The Hurricanes played well during their unlikely playoff run but were ultimately swept by the Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals. Ward performed admirably during the Hurricanes run, appearing in all 18 games and posting a 8—10 record with 2 SO and a 2.67 GAA and .915 Sv%

Ward spent a significant amount of the next season on the sidelines nursing a lacerated leg and then an upper body injury. He only appeared in 47 games, posting a 18-23 record, his first losing record in his entire hockey career dating back to his Major Junior days with the Red Deer Rebels.

Ward returned healthy in the 2010-11 season and played in a career high 74 games, posting a 37-26-10 record with 4 SO, a 2.56 GAA, and a .923 Sv%. The 2010-2011 season was expected to be a rebuild season due to a transition as the Hurricanes shifted from a veteran team to a younger one. However, the team’s quality play kept them in the playoff race up to the very last day of the regular season. The team failed to make the playoffs on the last day of the regular season by losing 6-2 to the Tampa Bay Lightning

Talent Analysis

Pros

  • Good size
  • Great attitude
  • Clutch goaltender
  • Calm and poised
  • Great glove hand
  • Consistent
  • Work horse
  • Active stick
  • Covers the bottom of the net well
  • Loves big game situations
  • Game Breaker

Cons

  • Has high expectations to live up to due to early success
  • Must avoid complacency

Future

Ward is Carolina’s franchise goalie for the foreseeable future. He has consistently kept the team in the playoff race every year since he’s been on the team. Ward has consistently posted 30 wins a year and in 3 of the last 4 seasons, he’s won 37 or more games a year. One of these days he’ll reach 40. Ward will continue to carry the load in Carolina as they continue jockeying for a playoff spot in the East.

Ward is likely to be one of the three goaltenders to make Canada’s 2014 Winter Olympic team if NHL players are allowed to participate.

NHL Highlights

  • Drafted 25th overall in 2002 NHL Entry Draft
  • 1st NHL Game – October 5th, 2005 vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (2-5 L)
  • 1st NHL Win – October 7th, 2005 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (3-2 W)
  • 1st NHL Lost – October 5th, 2005 vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (2-5 L)
  • 1st NHL OT Lost – October 20th vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (4-5 OTL)
  • 1st NHL Shutout – November 9th, 2006 vs. Washington Capitals (5-0 W)
  • 1st NHL Playoff Game – April 24th, 2006 vs. Montreal Canadiens (5-6 OTL)
  • 1st NHL Playoff Win – April 26th, 2006 vs. Montreal Canadiens (2-1 W)
  • 1st NHL Playoff Lost – May 13th, 2006 vs. New Jersey Devils (2-1 W)
  • 1st NHL Playoff OT Lost – April 24th, 2006 vs. Montreal Canadiens (5-6 OTL)
  • 1st NHL Playoff Shutout – May 6th, 2006 vs. New Jersey Devils (6-0 W)
  • Stanley Cup Champion
  • Conn Smythe Trophy winner

Career Highlights

  • 2001-02 CHL Second All-Star Team
  • 2001-02 WHL Best GAA (2.27)
  • 2001-02 WHL Del Wilson Trophy winner
  • 2002-03 WHL Best SV% (.920)
  • 2003-04 CHL First All-Star Team
  • 2003-04 CHL Goaltender of the Year
  • 2003-04 WHL Four Broncos Trophy winner
  • 2003-04 WHL Del Wilson Trophy winner
  • 2004-05 AHL All-Rookie Team
  • 2005-06 NHL Stanley Cup Champion
  • 2005-06 NHL Conn Smythe Trophy winner
  • 2006-07 World Championship Gold Medal
  • 2007-08 World Championship Silver Medal
  • 2010-11 NHL All-Star Game participant

Career Stats

AHL: 52 GP, 27 W, 19 L, 3 T, 6 SO, 2.02 GAA, .936 Sv%
AHL Playoffs:
11 GP, 5 W, 6 L, 2 SO, 2.53 GAA, .928 Sv%
NHL:
346 GP, 175 W, 126 L, 33 OTL, 16 SO, 2.74 GAA, .909 Sv%
NHL Playoffs:
41 GP, 23 W, 18 L, 4 SO, 2.38 GAA, .917 Sv%
WC:
10 GP, 9 W, 1 L, 2.39 GAA, .908 Sv%
WHL:
160 GP, 102 W, 40 L, 15 T, 11 SO, 2.12 GAA
WHL Playoffs:
65 GP, 38 W, 27 L, 8 SO, 2.03 GAA, .928 Sv%

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