Carolina Hurricanes Mock Trades: Cam Ward


Continuing the trend of Carolina Hurricanes goalies on the faux trade block, it’s now time to explore some Cam Ward mock trades.  Cam Ward began his career with the Hurricanes during the 2005-2006 season; the season in which the Canes took home hockey’s ultimate prize, the Stanley Cup.  He even took home a piece of hardware himself, the Conn Smythe Trophy (given to the MVP of the NHL Playoffs).  Since then, Ward has had a somewhat tumultuous career laden with injuries.  He became the full-time starter following his first year and has held the reigns ever since.

The past few years have not been what Canes fans have been used to.  Back and groin injuries plagued his seasons and seemed to affect his play.  Ward, who is back to being healthy this year, currently sports a record of 11-16-2.  He maintains a save percentage of .914 (91.4%).  His Goals Against Average (GAA) stands at 2.36 on the year.  He has proven himself, once again, to be a true starter in the NHL.  If our offense had bailed him out on numerous occasions, his Win/Loss statistics would be much, much better.

With his drastically improved play, it is conceivable to think that other teams would have their respective eyes on him as a possible trade target.  Rumors during the offseason mentioned Ward possibly being traded during or after the NHL Draft, but nothing materialized.  His level of play and hefty contract seemed to scare other teams off.  His connection to the team and his play in the past also added value to GM Ron Francis and the Hurricanes as well.  But now, with the Canes possibly looking to overhaul the team, it might be the right time to trade Ward.  His value might not ever be as high as it is now and risking injury could jeopardize any possible trades.  If he is to be traded, he must go to a team that can absorb his contract under the salary cap.  The trade must be lucrative enough for the Hurricanes to pull the trigger as well.

Here are some mock trade scenarios:

Proposal #1:

Proposal #2:

Proposal #3:

Proposal #4:

With recent rumors circulating that the Minnesota Wild have contacted the Hurricanes about apossible Cam Ward trade, I figured I’d add two separate types of trade scenarios.  The first involves an NHL player plus a prospect in return for Cam Ward’s services.  The Wild’s goaltending has been close to horrendous this season and has, in my opinion, been their Achilles’ heelTheir immediate need for a goaltender could spark them to give up slightly more than what any other team would give up.  Kyle Brodziak would simply be a rental player for the Hurricanes, as his contract is up following this season.  This would open up more money for the Canes to utilize this offseason.  I perused through the Wild’s prospect pool and found Gustav Olofsson.  He is not one of their top tier defensive prospects, but I could see him being enough to force Ron Francis to pull the trigger.  He would find his way to Charlotte.  The second scenario sees a return of Niklas Backstrom, the perennial Wild goalie who turns 37 in February.  This wouldn’t solve any personnel issues for the Canes, as Backstrom would most likely see out his contract (which ends after next season).  He does have a more favorable contract, which frees up funds for Ron Francis.  However, he does have a partial No Trade Clause (NTC).  I could very well see him veto a trade to Carolina.  A return of Darcy Kuemper, a younger, cheaper goalie option with a higher ceiling would be intriguing, but amazingly unlikely. The 3rd Round Pick represents a prospect that would assist in a rebuild.  A big key to a trade to Minnesota, or anywhere for that matter, is salary retained.  Cam Ward’s massive $6.3 million cap hit has been a sticking point in the past.  It is possible that Minnesota would require the Canes to retain a portion of his contract to facilitate a deal.  Teams are only allowed to retain money on three contracts and if we were to retain money on Ward’s deal, this would represent out third.  If at all possible, the Canes would like to avoid retaining any salary.

The Oilers have always been involved in Cam Ward rumors, given their recent struggles and distance to Cam Ward’s hometown of Saskatoon.  This change could be beneficial for Ward, but he would be involved in another rebuilding process.  Viktor Fasth has been close to abysmal this season, only winning 2 games.  His value is closer to that of Ward’s, but he is not as proven as a starter.  Martin Marincin, another defensive prospect, would add to the Hurricanes’ relatively shallow prospect pool.  The Oilers would most likely want the Canes to retain salary, but again, the Canes would want to avoid this.

Finally, I added in a Cam Ward for Ondrej Pavelec trade (with a late pick).  This not very likely, at all, but it is an interesting idea.  Pavelec has not played well for the Jets; Michael Hutchinson has all but taken over, for now, with his higher level of play.  Pavelec is on the outs and might need a change of scenery.  He is younger than Cam Ward and could provide more balance for the Canes’ goalie corps than the return of Backstrom from Minnesota.  The monetary savings would be financially beneficial as well.  The Hurricanes may not be getting back high-value picks and/or prospects, which is what we would likely want, but it’s something to think about.  Again, I don’t see this happening.

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Cam Ward has provided many years of admirable service to the Hurricanes and gave us our first and only Stanley Cup.  Trading him would be difficult, but we have to think about the future, which is why I think we need to explore the options.