Cam Ward is on the verge of retirement, after 13 memorable seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes and last season with the Chicago Blackhawks. His playing career may be over, but what’s next for Ward?
Cam Ward is a major reason the Carolina Hurricanes have a Stanley Cup in their history. In the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs, he was crowned the Playoff MVP, as he won the Conn Smythe Trophy.
Analyzing Cam Ward’s annual statistics, his rookie regular season wasn’t great, but his rise began in the Stanley Cup Playoffs that year, which he continued to raise his save percentage and lower his goals-against-average almost yearly, up until the 2010-11 season. The 2013-14 season was one of his first seasons and ultimately signaled decline, as Ward’s prime came to an end.
As free agency loomed on July 1st 2018, the Carolina Hurricanes did not extend Cam Ward and ultimately the Chicago Blackhawks entrusted Ward to be their backup goalie and starter for as long as Corey Crawford was injured.
Ward went on to have his second worst regular season of his entire National Hockey League career, only better than his rookie season with the Hurricanes in the 2005-06 regular season. Although having an insubstantial defense in front of him, like Chicago’s that season, is a good reason, it still doesn’t look good on paper. It’s clear enough, as 21 days pass the Free Agency Frenzy of July 1st, with Ward not being signed by any teams.
Cam Ward could be a viable option for goaltending coach for the Hurricanes. Ward has 14 seasons under his belt as a goaltender, he played under former goaltending coach Mike Bales for a season. He is one of only 16 goaltenders who has won the Conn Smythe Trophy and has raised the Stanley Cup for himself.
Although Ward has these great pieces on his resume, what he doesn’t have is coaching experience, because this would be his first year he would not be playing goalie, but rather coaching it, it’d be his rookie goalie coaching season. This makes the move risky and likely makes Don Waddell and Tom Dundon hesitant to make such a move, considering their other moves that have expected experience, success, and results now, rather than accepting question marks.
Cam Ward was emotional about leaving the team he had played for 13 seasons, as he signed with Chicago in 2018. The largest question may not be if Cam Ward would be interested in the job, but rather would the Carolina Hurricanes management be interested in offering the job.
Question for Cardiac Cane Readers: Would you take the risk on Cam Ward as the goalie coach, and if not, who would you rather have?