After a surprising run to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2009, the Carolina Hurricanes have missed the playoffs the last two seasons.
But they haven’t missed out on the postseason by very much and if Cam Ward can give the Hurricanes just a few more timely saves, their regular season fortunes might turn around.
The Hurricanes have had a similar team on paper for the last three seasons. In this time, the individual statistics of Cam Ward have proven to have a direct correlation to the success of the hockey team.
In 2008-2009, Ward posted a goals-against average (GAA) of 2.44, and the Hurricanes made the playoffs as the sixth seed in the East. Ward then outplayed both Martin Brodeur and Tim Thomas in the first two rounds of the playoffs as the Hurricanes upset the New Jersey Devils and the Boston Bruins.
In 2009-2010, Ward missed several games due to injury and managed just a 2.69 GAA when he was healthy. As a result, Carolina finished 11th in the conference and missed the playoffs.
However, in 2010-2011 Ward’s GAA improved to 2.56 and the Hurricanes still missed the playoffs but finished ninth in the conference. Another step in the right direction for Cam Ward could bring the Hurricanes back to the playoffs, so it’s imperative to his team that he steps his game up.
The other reason Ward should step up his game is because he is currently being paid $6.3 million per year. That’s the second highest annual salary in the entire NHL amongst goaltenders, and while Ward has performed fairly well over the last few years, he certainly hasn’t played like the second best goaltender in the league.