Thread: News on Ward
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01-24-2004, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Koltsov71
How is Jason Ward looking this season? Do you guys think he has a future in the NHL, and if so, what are you expecting from him? Any constructive information would be appreciated. Thanks.
He's a difficult player to get a read on.

Ward is a terrible skater. Not in terms of speed, but in terms of balance and strength on his skates. He'll fall a half dozen times a game, sometimes while going untouched. He handles the puck like a hot potato, and has real difficulties changing direction. Added to that, Ward's shot is unspectacular, and he doesn't seem too aware of where he's passing the puck.

He's the most awkward player you'll ever see, in other words.

But somehow Ward manages to be a productive, sound defensive, and very likeable winger. He's used on the PK regularly, is versatile enough to take draws and play down the middle, has been used on Montreal's shut-down unit as well as on the second PP unit. He's even seen time on a scoring line on occasion.

Ward manages to make plays out of nothing. He's just a bound and determined player that isn't particularly gritty, but follows the puck wherever it goes, and can create plays as a result of that determination. The third line hasn't looked as good and created as many chances as it had before Ward was moved there for a good long while.

This is why I feel it's difficult to guage his potential. There's no individual skill that looks to be NHL-calibre, but he surprises me every time he's on the ice by making good plays. His instincts in the offensive zone and around the net are solid. He's the type of player that will inject energy and lead a line, rather than be a complementary player. He'll play his game regardless of whether he's on a line with Koivu or whether he's with Begin and Langdon.

On the whole, I think it'd be unfair to place expectations of anything more than a versatile fourth liner on him. And a brittle one at that. But he's a useful player: certainly not your typical fourth liner.

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