So Long, Joel Ward

Bad news in Smashville on this crazy hot Friday afternoon.

Apparently the Washington Capitals signed Joel Ward to a 4-year $12 million deal today (July 1, 2011) after being released to free agency after the 2010-2011 season.

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Ward spent the last three years with the Predators and in his time here, posted 115 points (49g, 66a).

Ward-O helped carry the team to success in the playoffs this past year by racking up a total of 13 points (7g, 6a) and scoring 3 points (2g, 1a) and the game-winning goal against the Canucks on May 7.

Nashville gave Ward his first real chance in the NHL by signing him from free agency back in 2008 from the Minnesota Wild.

Prior to being signed by the Preds, Ward spent most of his career playing for the Wilds minor league team, Houston Aeros, where he scored 41 points (21g, 20a) and the most goals scored on the team in 2008 with 21.

This past season, Ward had one of his lowest scoring years with the Preds with 29 points (10g, 19a) after scoring 35 and 34 points in ’08-’09 and ’09-’10 respectively.

The Caps are offering Ward a huge payment increase from what he is used to after it was eliminated from the second round of the playoffs by a sweep by the thunderous Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Capitals have been extremely well known for their offensive capabilities, but also known to lack in the defensive side of things.

The purchase of Ward to Washington’s organization is a step forward to adding the defensive guns it will need to become one of the most feared teams in the league, especially after being embarrassed by the Lightning by lacking in the defensive play Ward-O is used to after playing in Nashville.

I’m really bummed about this transaction, but I can’t blame Ward for wanting more money than what Nashville could offer him. I hope he continues to play outstanding hockey that he has proved time-and-time again that he is capable of.

I know that Ward will be treated well and will enjoy playing with one of the league’s best.

Good luck, Ward!

Kudos to our friends over at Rock The Red for their speedy post about the latest development occurring in Washington and informing me about it.

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