Cam Ward has had his ups and downs over the past nine years. He was a Conn Smythe winning, Stanley Cup champion back in 2006, but over the past two years, he has been nowhere close to that caliber.
Up to this point, I’ve been a huge supporter of Cam Ward, even through his struggles, but the fact that he has only played in 36 of the last 90 games for the Carolina Hurricanes is troubling to say the least.
The former all-star is being paid over $6 million, and that is a big issue. Anton Khuodbin and Justin Peters have a combined record of 12-9-4. Khuodbin has a 1.99 goals against average and a save percentage of .940%. Justin Peters has a 2.38 goals against average with a save percentage of .922%. Peters and Khudobin have a combined salary of just under $1.4 million. Cam Ward’s record of 6-7-5 with a 3.15 goals against average and a save percentage of .895% is just not worth $6.3 million.
The question is if Justin Peters and Anton Khuodbin will be able to hold down the fort without Cam Ward. I think they can, and they have been. Anton Khuodbin wants to take the next step in his career, he wants to be a starting goalie in the National Hockey League. The former Bruin played three NHL games in four nights and won all three games. He allowed three goals on 41 shots against the Washington Capitals, two goals on 40 shots against the New York Islanders and one goal on 32 shots against the Nashville Predators. That is unbelievable considering that those were his first three game in the NHL following his ankle injury that kept him out for two and a half months.
Justin Peters’ sustained success should prove that he can handle a back-up role. He has proven that he can make the big saves that can steal games for the Carolina Hurricanes. I think that Anton Khuodbin and Justin Peters are at the point where they can be trusted as the Canes’ goalie tandem.
On the other side of the argument, we all saw what happened last year when a goalie gets injured. This is a valid point, but Cam Ward has been placed on IR three times in under one calender year, so it seems like he is the biggest injury concern for the Carolina Hurricanes.
To trade Cam Ward, the Carolina Hurricanes would need someone to trade with. The Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Florida Panthers and New York Islanders are all in the bottom five of the NHL in goals against average and have given up an average of over three goals-per-game. All those teams have more than enough cap space to bring in Cam Ward as well. Those teams have been reportedly looking around for goalie help also.
While it may be unreasonable to expect a first line player for Cam Ward, I think a top-six forward would not be a problem for the former Stanley Cup champion. One of Edmonton’s youngsters, like Sam Gagner, could be a good return for the Carolina Hurricanes.
Back on Dec. 17, it was reported by Elliotte Friedman that Jim Rutherford would not trade Cam Ward, but it has been almost a month since then. Jim Rutherford may be changing his mind.
Considering all those points, I think trading Cam Ward should definitely be an option, but ultimately, when the Carolina Hurricanes trade a goalie, it should be the goalie who gets the best return, and that would likely be Cam Ward.
Unfortunately, Cam Ward is no longer the young hot shot goalie he once was. That being said, it may be time to trade him and hand the reigns off to Anton Khudobin.
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