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11-11-2003, 03:45 AM
Join Date: Jun 2002
Originally Posted by
Guy, if I was to list the posters whose ability to analyze players I respect,you would rank pretty high. That being said I consistently disagree with your thoughts on Ward. I won't argue your analysis of his skills point by point because you are right. I think Ward is one of those players however, whose sum is more than the addition of his skills. There are certain players that seem to create a positive energy on the ice. Good things seem to happen around them. To me, he's the type of player who'll get a goal and assist but leave you thinking about how awkward he looked doing it. In response to the original question from Hab fan 1084, Ward's skating delayed him along with the fact that he seemed to get injured every time he made some progress.
If nothing else, he is probably our player best suited to creating traffic and burying rebounds on the PP. Despite his skating, CJ seems to trust him on the penalty kill.
The comparisons are a bit of a reach but the Habs have had many players over the years whose skills were suspect, but delivered valuable contributions. Guys like Tremblay,Lambert,McPhee and Skrudland come to mind. I do admit that taking him in the first round was a reach, it seems that character can be drafted a little lower, but what do I know.
Great post as usual!
I like Ward a lot and think he has a future in the NHL. His skating is well below average, and this hinders his work as a grinder in that he's not able to deliver or receive big hits without falling. Nor can he turn all that well,
However, Ward does have the speed to compete in the league. He's proven to be useful on the PK. He's proven to be strong defensively and won't hurt the team when he's on the ice. He brings energy, and as you stated: good things tend to happen around him. He makes things happen, plays with authority and confidence, and while he'll never be anything more than a plugger (in my mind), he'll be a quality character player.
On a team that is severely lacking an identity and character players--both on the big club and in the system--Ward has a role.
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