Cam Ward has seen a lot of things over the course of his lengthy NHL career, including a Stanley Cup victory in 2006. However, the free agency signing period was a whole new experience.
Since becoming a first-round pick in 2002, Ward has never played for another NHL franchise other than those Carolina Hurricanes who drafted him. He's also never had the chance to go to the open market, something that changed this week as the goalie signed a one-year contract with Chicago as a free agent.
"This is all new to me," said Ward. "This is the first time I've ever been a UFA in my career, so I really didn't know what to expect. I went through the week prior where teams can contact you and do the interview process and I was humbled by the number of teams that were reaching out and showing interest. One of the extensive interviews I had was with Chicago. I got real excited listening to Stan and trying to picture myself playing in a different city.
Video: Cam Ward on signing with Chicago, backing up Crawford
Obviously, I've got a family - a wife and two kids - and they're the number one priority. I wanted to go to a place we would all feel comfortable going to. I've had the luxury of talking to many players, former players, who have played in Chicago and I've heard nothing but outstanding things about the organization and the city and everything that comes with being a Blackhawk."
Ward says the most exciting thing for him about coming to Chicago is the chance to play in front of Blackhawks fans at the United Center.