The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed right wing Jason Ward to a two-year contract, Executive Vice President and General Manger Jay Feaster announced.
"Jason Ward was a trade deadline acquisition that pretty much flew under the radar screen and didn't receive a lot of attention,” Feaster said. “However, his impact on our hockey team was tremendous. He demonstrated his versatility by playing incredibly well on our third line and then showed that he could fit right in on the second line playing with Brad Richards. Jason is a very good penalty killer who helped our PK down the stretch and into the playoffs and he is not afraid to stand in front of the net and go into the high traffic areas on the power play.
“His size, grit and speed make him very effective in our fore-checking system and he is a solid addition to our locker room. We made re-signing Jason a top priority, and this is a great way to start the off-season for our hockey club.”
Ward, 28, was acquired by the Lightning from Los Angeles at the 2007 trade deadline in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the 2007 NHL Draft. He made an immediate impact with Tampa Bay, scoring four goals in 17 games after netting four in his previous 53 with the New York Rangers and Los Angles. He also more than doubled his points-per-game average from .208 to .471 after joining Tampa Bay. Ward recorded a career high for average ice time with 16:37 during the regular season with the Lightning.
During the regular season Ward scored eight goals and recorded 19 points with 40 penalty minutes. He also played a career-high six Stanley Cup Playoff games with one assist. He has played in 12 career playoff games and recorded three assists. Ward made his Lightning debut on March 1 at Washington and recorded his first point with an assist on March 10 at Calgary. He recorded his first multi-point game with Tampa Bay March 20 against the New York Islanders.
Ward, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound native of Chapleau, Ontario, has appeared in 256 career NHL games with Montreal, New York, Los Angeles and Tampa Bay, recording 28 goals, 67 points and 127 penalty minutes.
Selected in the first round, 11th overall by Montreal at the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, Ward played in a career-best 81 games for the Rangers in 2005-06, recording 10 goals, 18 assists and 44 penalty minutes. He has also skated in 296 career American Hockey League games with Fredericton, Quebec and Hamilton, totaling 97 goals, 232 points and 390 penalty minutes between 1999 and 2005.