Was Cam Ward a dissapointment last year from the point of view of a Carolina fan? After winning the Conn Smythe as a rookie, Ward was the unquestioned #1 and responded with a 2.97GAA and sub .900 SV%. Also, Carolina just missed the playoffs by 4 points. What do you think of Cam's year last season?
Also, how do you think Ward will do next season? Can he improve his performance from last year? Do you think he can play like he did in the playoffs more consistently?
Disapointment? Yes. But he was better than his numbers indicate. Obviously everyone would have liked to see better numbers, but truthfully the team's GA did go down by about 10 compared to the previous year.
As for next year, I absolutely believe he'll be better. I'm hoping for somewhere around a 2.5 GAA and .910% at least. Those are Ray Emery numbers and he should post at least those.
As for the future and replicating his Playoff numbers, who knows. I don't know that we'll see him play like that over the course of a full season, but I wouldn't be surprised if he went on another playoff run like that. He strikes me as a guy who really steps up his game in the playoffs.
Well, if we're keeping score his actual goals against average was 2.93 and his save percentage was .897. He still finished with winning more games than he lost, but I would say that he is capable of performing at a much higher rate.
If you look at his rookie regular season, he raised his save percentage by .15 points and dropped his goals against by 0.75 goals per game. People were expecting him to be something other than human after his great playoff performance and it caused expectations to be sky high.
If he can raise his save percentage another .10 points and lower his goals against by 0.40 per game then i'll be happy with his progress. As a first time NHL starter he didn't do terrible, but he could have done better.
Disappointing I'd say No. Was he great, No, I'd say he was average. There were nights where he stood on his head and his team decided not to show. Some games that are in the L column for him, I don't fault.
Do I think he will be better this year, Yes. Here's why:
1) he got his first season as the starter behind him.
2) he knows now what it takes and can better prepare himself during the off season. Which he already is. He is staying in Raleigh working with Friesen to get his conditioning up and has been working out with Brindy, nuff said there.
3) he will be more focused this year IMO
One thing I hope he works at is one on ones. I feel this is his biggest weakness and if he can get this under control, he will be a great goalie.
I think last year he was a victim of high expectations more then anything else really. After the playoff run he had a lot of people (including some Canes fans) expecting him to put up numbers that would have him as a Vezina contender. Don't get me wrong, last year was a bit dissapointing, but he also played better then his numbers show. I can really only think of a handfull of truely bad games he played, and the lack of support he often had from the rest of the team was outright disgusting.
My guess is that his numbers will be a bit more in the 2.55-2.65/.907-.911 range this year, good but nothing stellar. More wins then last year as well, mostly as I don't expect the Canes to get shut out even half as often as they were last year.
I swear it seemed like he was the victim of so many fluke goals and terrible bounces last year. Not enough to skew his numbers I don't think, but anytime a friend of mine and I see a strange goal we always say "Is that Cam Ward in net?"
To be honest I'm kind of sick of hearing about Ward's disappointing year. We know what he is capable of, he does...so should any fan of hockey. Just look at his numbers and look at the situation he was put into and the pressure he faced. Expect much more from him this season.
What everyone else said. He played better than his numbers. But he is clearly capable of much more. I'm still optimistic that he can get his game elevated even more and that next season will be another step there. If Cam were a less even-keeled guy, I'd have been really worried about him coming off 2006 and the Conn Smythe at age 22.
I don't see anything changed than I have thought since I saw him in camp three years ago and he nearly made the squad. When I saw him then I felt he could be a top 10 netminder for a long time in this league, and I still think that. He's just not quite there yet. Perhaps we got to see a little ramped-up flash of that potential future last spring.
I wanted to bring him along more slowly, and I'll admit I wasn't crazy about him coming up for last year - I wanted another year of seasoning. Not the first time I was wrong - but either way his best years are still to come. I expect that he will be among the league's elite goaltenders by 2010.
Both Grahame and Ward will be better this upcoming season especially after both of them represented their countries in the IIHF world tournament. C'mon Ward got the starter role over Roloson for the Canada team. Though I do like Grahame more for his puck handling abilities, also it seems like Ward is learning from him in that aspect as well.