Hurricanes Sign Cam Ward to Three-Year Contract
“Cam is one of the cornerstones of our team moving forward,” said Rutherford. “He has already built an impressive resume for himself at a young age, and we believe he is going to be one of the elite goaltenders in the National Hockey League for a long time.”
Ward, 23, completed his second NHL season in 2006-07, establishing career bests in games played (60), wins (30), goals-against average (2.93), save percentage (.897) and shutouts (2). The Saskatoon, Sask., native ranked tied for 15th among NHL netminders in wins (30) and tied for 13th in games played (60). Following the conclusion of the regular season, Ward (6’1’’, 200 lbs.) represented Canada at the 2007 IIHF World Championships, helping his home country capture the gold medal. Ward was 5-0-0 in the tournament with a 2.20 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage, and stopped 20 shots in Canada’s victory in the gold-medal game against Finland.
As a rookie in 2005-06, Ward earned the Conn Smythe Trophy as the NHL’s playoff MVP after leading the Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup championship. During the postseason, Ward ranked first in the league in wins (15), second in goals-against average (2.14), second in shutouts (2) and sixth in save percentage (.920). He set Hurricanes single-season franchise playoff records in wins (15), saves (537), minutes (1320) and shutouts (2 – tied with Kevin Weekes’ 2002 mark). Ward was 14-8-2 during the 2005-06 regular season and in two NHL regular seasons, he is 44-29-8 with a 3.16 goals-against average and two shutouts.
Ward completed his first professional season in 2004-05, posting a 27-17-3 record in 50 games with Carolina’s American Hockey League affiliate, Lowell. During that season, he established Lock Monster’s single-season records for wins (27), shutouts (6), goals-against average (1.99) and save percentage (.937), and was named to the AHL’s all-rookie team. He also set Lock Monster’s franchise marks in playoff wins (5), shutouts (2) and goals-against average (2.53). Prior to turning pro, Ward played four seasons with Red Deer of the Western Hockey League (WHL), notching a career record of 102-40-15 with a goals-against average of 2.12 and 11 shutouts in 160 games played. He was named the WHL’s goaltender of the year three consecutive seasons, the WHL’s overall player of the year in 2003-04 and the goaltender of the year for the entire Canadian Hockey League in 2003-04.