35-Year-Old Right Wing – San Jose Sharks
Joel Ward Contract Information:
Signed a three-year, $9.825 million contract with the Sharks in July 2015.
Ward (lower body) is in the lineup for Thursday's season opener against the Kings.
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Joel Ward: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Ward came to the Sharks as a free agent in July after wrapping up four seasons in Washington, where he's been an invaluable penalty killer, complementary scorer and glue guy. The Caps may find they miss him while he's grinding away on San Jose's third line. That's not an assignment that's expected to come with a ton of points, as Ward isn't likely to again enjoy the 16-plus minutes of ice time he averaged last season. His numbers fell back last year following an outlier 49-point campaign the season before, and they could fall further this season. The Sharks probably mostly want him for his playoff proficiency -- when the bright lights of the postseason have come on in recent years, Ward's gone off. But of course, they have to get to the playoffs first.
Alongside linemate Jason Chimera, Wardís 2013-2014 was a pleasant surprise for a Capitals team that missed the mark in general. Night in and night out, Ward was one of the most reliable players in a Caps uniform, posting career-highs of 24 goals and 49 points while playing just over 16 minutes per game. Reunited with former coach Barry Trotz, Ward will likely be given every opportunity to repeat last seasonís performance, and entering the final year of his contract, heíll have every incentive to do just that. However, the late-career breakout is always something that should raise red flags for fantasy players, so itís probably unwise to expect a repeat performance from Ward. Still, even with some likely regression, Ward will be a valuable contributor for the Caps, and certainly worth keeping an eye on in deeper leagues.
Ward kept up his reputation as a valuable checking forward last season, playing in 39 of 48 games, but notching just 20 points with eight goals and 12 assists. The Caps have him signed for two more years but fantasy owners should not expect much return on any investment made in Ward.
Ward cashed in on a strong 2011 postseason with Nashville to sign a free-agent contract with the Caps last summer. However, his first year in the District was a little underwhelming, as Ward registered just 18 points in 73 games with his crowning moment being the series-clinching overtime winner in Washington's upset of Boston in the first round last spring. Ward is a checking forward that will not be relied upon to score too often.
Ward got a lot of notice this offseason as he showed up big in the playoffs. He is another net front presence, who is quick on his skates. It's hard to imagine, however, where he will fit in with all the talent this team has on offense. Ward never has put up over 35 points in a season, but he has the potential to put up 50 points on a high-powered offense like this if he's used in the right role. He could be a sleeper pick come draft day.
Ward bounced between the second and third lines for most of last season, scoring 13 goals and 21 assists in the process. Although his versatility allows him to play a scoring role if needed, Ward is really more of a third-line, penalty-kill guy, and considering the other wingers currently ahead of him on the Preds' depth chart - Martin Erat, Patric Hornqvist, Steve Sullivan, and the recently-acquired Sergei Kostitsyn - Ward will be hard-pressed to squeeze himself into a top-four rotation next season. We believe his fantasy value is currently limited to deeper leagues only.
Ward came out of nowhere last season to score 17 goals and 35 points. If one is to be pragmatic, you are likely going to want to wait and see where this came from, since Ward is 28 years old and had never had success at the NHL level before. There is no telling what Ward will do this season, and it is probably best to leave him be, at least at first. If he starts to show that 20082-2009 wasn't a fluke, then you can take a shot with him.
Ward signed a free agent deal with the Preds during the summer. He comes from the Minnesota Wild organization and has spent the last three seasons playing for Houston in the AHL. Ward posted career highs with 21 goals and 20 assists in 79 games with the Aeros last season. He will make a good addition to the lineup of the Milwaukee Admirals.
Ward played in 11 games for Minnesota last season, registering just one point, He nabbed 23 points for Houston (AHL). Ward is 27 and is still seeing some minor-league time, and hasn't done anything to lead us to believe he'll be more than a third- or fourth-liner.