Coming back to Earth
After a superhuman performance in the playoffs in 2006, the next 2 seasons were a little bit more of what we could have expected from Cam Ward. He didn’t set the world alight like he did in the extra hockey. He had come crashing back down to reality and his short-lived time as a star had ended abruptly.
In 2006-07, he played 60 games as the Canes starter. Over those 60 games, Ward’s stats dipped to a .897 save percentage and a 2.93 goals-against average. This return to reality also saw the Canes miss the meaningful games played in April as they missed the playoffs. They were the first cup holders to miss the playoffs in the expansion era.
In 2007-08, it was more of the same from Cam. In 69 games he posted nothing better than 2.75 goals-against average and a .904 save percentage. This was a far cry from what he had done in the postseason just a few seasons prior against Montreal, New Jersey, Buffalo, and Edmonton. He was not performing at the same level that the Carolina Hurricanes needed him to be.
Could this be what Cam Ward’s career would really be? A sub-par starting goaltender who could never catch the days of former glory? Had he burned out as a star in the NHL? With so many questions surrounding Cam and his future is not only Raleigh but the NHL too, Ward needed to prove he could still play at the top level.