Carolina Hurricanes re-sign Cam Ward: Thoughts from multiple angles (part 1)

Carolina Hurricanes re-sign Cam Ward: Thoughts from multiple angles (part 1)

Today it was announced that the Carolina Hurricanes had re-signed Cam Ward to a 2-year deal at $3.3 million per year. There must be literally a dozen angles to this deal First, at a very basic level, let me say that I do not like the decision. Since right after the conclusion of the 2015-16 season, I pegged the decision on the second goalie as 1 of the 2 biggest decisions that Ron Francis needed to make this season, and I think the team could do better.   Last summer created a difficult situation I actually think under a scenario whereby Francis had 2 open slots in net, this deal could make sense. I am fine with the 1A/1B combination and think Ward fits in that scenario. The problem is that Eddie Lack is currently locked in for 2 more years and did not play up to a 1A/1B level next season. Is it possible that Lack rebounds in his second season with the Hurricanes? Sure. Is it possible that Ward plays an entire season at a higher level like his good stretch in 2015-16 and makes Lack mostly irrelevant? Sure. But for a position that I think will be the single biggest factor in deciding the fate of the 2016-17, I want better than maybe’s and could be’s. I am on record as agreeing with the crowd that Francis has been very good as a GM so far, but I think the 1 mistake that he made was the Lack situation. He paid modestly to get Lack (third and fifth round picks) who was only signed through 2015-16....
Thoughts on Carolina Hurricanes goalie situation

Thoughts on Carolina Hurricanes goalie situation

Way back when in my series of Carolina Hurricanes season preview blogs, I called out ‘great goaltending’ as requirement #1 for the Canes to rebound and surprise this season. You can find that post HERE. That has not happened – not even close. Cam Ward did have a short stretch of strong play early in the season, but overall the Hurricanes goaltending has been sub-par. Hardly a day goes by when there is not another graph on Twitter that highlights the Canes struggles in net. In a day and age when good NHL goalies push north of .920 save percentages, Cam Ward sits at .893, and Eddie Lack sits at .863.   The situation begs the question of where the team goes from here: Could they add another goalie to the mix? I doubt that will happen for the 2015-16 season. Unless the aim is to add someone for past this season, I do not see Ron Francis spending $ or trade assets to add another goalie. The other option is to pull up 1 of the goalies from Charlotte, but neither of them are exactly lighting the AHL on fire either. Drew MacIntyre sits at .893 and Rasmus Tirronen at .873 for save percentage and neither has been particularly good. An injury could get 1 of them NHL ice time, but otherwise I am not sure either is the answer for 2015-16 or beyond.   Is there hope for the future? Yes. The best ‘future’ is 2014 draftee Alex Nedeljkovic. This week’s ‘The Pipeline’ report which you can find HERE profiled his trade. He is a bit of...
Cam Ward – Playoff hero and #1 all-time goalie

Cam Ward – Playoff hero and #1 all-time goalie

Cam Ward is yet another story of a Carolina Hurricanes star bursting onto the NHL scene from seemingly out of nowhere. Ward was drafted 25th overall in the 2002 draft. He was expected to someday become an NHL goalie. But the chain of events leading up to it seemed to suddenly fall out of the sky. After being drafted, Ward spent two more years in juniors and then quietly had a solid AHL season in 2004-05 under cover of the NHL lockout. Despite the fact that Ward had no NHL experience whatsoever and only one season of AHL experience, Canes general manager Jim Rutherford decided to go with him as the team’s backup for the 2005-06. Coming off a miserable previous season before the lockout, the Canes needed a decent start out of the gate to build confidence and put 2003-04 behind them. Those prospects took a significant turn for the worse almost immediately when starting goalie Martin Gerber was injured two periods into the season. Cam Ward was suddenly scheduled to make his first NHL start in only his second NHL appearance at the age of 21 on October 7, 2005 in the Canes home opener. The foe was a Penguins team that featured all-time NHL great Mario Lemieux and soon-to-be NHL all-time great Sidney Crosby. In that game, Ward looked remarkably calm, as if he was ready and belonged there. He played well and helped get the Canes to overtime tied at 2-2 and gain a point in the standings in the process. Then after a scoreless overtime, Ward rose up and stopped Mario Lemieux, Sidney Crosby...
I don’t think Cam Ward re-signs this summer — Here’s why

I don’t think Cam Ward re-signs this summer — Here’s why

With August trudging forward ever so slowly and daily checks for Canes news yielding nothing, it raises the question of what unfinished business is left for the Canes before we finally arrive at training camp. There are a few open items. First, though he seems content to enter training camp leaving spots open for rookies to win at forward, I suspect that GM Ron Francis will ultimately sign one more cheap forward to add some depth. That would still leave room for at least one spot to be won at camp. The other bigger items that are open with the potential to be resolved in August are the long-term situations with Eric Staal and Cam Ward. As most know, both are scheduled to become free agents next summer. While I think it reasonably probable that Eric Staal’s situation will be resolved sometime this summer, I think it unlikely that will be the case for Cam Ward. The challenge is that it is unclear what role he is being signed for which makes for a huge range of potential prices. He exited 2014-15 as the Canes starter. His agent could make a pitch for a salary appropriate for that role. Even if he took a big pay cut to adjust for his ranking in the goalie hierarchy these days, that would seem to dictate a price of something like $3-4M. That would be a big discount to his 2015-16 salary of $6.8M but probably fair given his recent performance. The advanced stats junkies would tell you that price is a significant overpayment based on his numbers (and also just his...