Counting down the days
It quickly became evident that Ward was brutally wasted during his time with the franchise. His numbers started to regress, and it became clear from this point on his best hockey was behind him. Not due to his age, but due to the amount of games he had played. By the end of the 2011-12 season, Ward was 27 and had played more than 400 NHL games.
Rest was not an option for Cam.
Ward being overplayed meant that he couldn’t perform at the same level as injuries started to take a toll on Cam. Ward only played 17 games in the 2012-13 season, and would never reach the heights he had early in his career. Yet, he still set some franchise records and some NHL records. To say that he was always heavily criticized and still holds records is a gigantic oxymoron.
Cam currently sits 24th in NHL history in terms of wins, and is one of only 36 goalies to hit the 300 win plateau. He leads the Canes franchise in wins, saves, shots faced, games played, Conn Smythes and a load of other stats. Basically, if it exists for a goalie, he is the Canes franchise leader in it.
Ward was overplayed during his time in Raleigh, but his numbers don’t lie. He wasn’t exactly given the best team to work behind. If you give him the modern canes defense, Ward is probably a Vezina candidate again. I know people love to blame Ward as he reason the Canes were bad after 2011, but it just isn’t true.