Ward, Hurricanes agree on 6-year extension
The Carolina Hurricanes have signed Cam Ward to a $37.8-million extension in a deal that will run through the 2015-16 season.
Ward, 25, posted career highs last year, with 39 wins, a 2.44 goals-against average and .916 save percentage, and six shutouts, helping the Hurricanes reach the Eastern Conference finals.
"The pressure's going to be there to play like an elite goaltender now that I'm being paid like one," Ward said. "That's not something that I've shied away (from) in the past, and that's why I ultimately chose to be a goaltender — to handle that pressure and play up to that."
Ward joins Eric Stall as young players the Hurricanes have locked up long term. Last year, Stall signed a seven-year, $57-million contract.
"You don't know what's going to happen in sports, when you're going to have a really special year, a really good year or … you have an off-year," said Jim Rutherford, president, general manager and part-owner of the Hurricanes.
"To have two young star players that you know are going to be with the organization for a long time, regardless of how bad of a season a team could end up having, you can always turn around and rebuild around those two guys immediately. It doesn't take as long to fix the problems."
Ward is perhaps best known for replacing Martin Gerber for the 2005-06 playoffs as a rookie, backstopping Carolina to its first Stanley Cup win, against the Edmonton Oilers, in seven games and winning the Conn Smythe as playoff MVP.
"Right from the first day of Cam's first training camp with us, we knew we had something special because at that time you could see how fundamentally strong he was, and it was just a matter of time of him developing and going through the process," Rutherford said.
"In his first year here, he got pushed in there pretty quick. It was his time. … It was pretty obvious right from the first season that this was the franchise goalie for a long time."
The Hurricanes' first-round choice in 2002, and 25th overall, Ward attended the Canadian Olympic orientation camp in Calgary to compete for one of three goaltending positions for Team Canada at the Vancouver Olympics.