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Ward's future with Hurricanes to be decided soon

Goalie has spent 11-season career with Carolina but will be unrestricted free agent July 1 @NHLdotcom

Goaltender Cam Ward's future with the Carolina Hurricanes will be determined soon, general manager Ron Francis said Thursday.

Ward has spent his 11-season NHL career with the Hurricanes but will become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

"I think we will make a decision fairly soon in that regard," Francis told the Hurricanes website. "I think when we look at Cam, part of my job is making sure that I go through the meetings with my pro guys and assessing what is out there in the free agent market and then talking to all the other GMs and seeing which goaltenders may or may not be available. And the ones that I want, what the price is.

Ward, 32, went 23-17-10 with a 2.41 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage in 52 games this season. He made $6.3 million in 2015-16, the last season of a six-year, $37.8 million contract he signed Sept. 30, 2009.

Video: CAR@BOS: Ward snags Chara's shot with his glove

He helped the Hurricanes win the Stanley Cup as a rookie in 2006 and won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In 564 regular-season games, he is 269-208-68 with a 2.70 goals-against average, a .910 save percentage and 23 shutouts.

"Cam from December to the end of the year was one of the top five goaltenders in the League in goals-against and save percentage," Francis said. "I think there's some merit to revisiting that as we move forward here and we will make a decision fairly soon."

The Hurricanes have 10 picks in the 2016 NHL Draft, including the 13th and 21st picks in the first round. But Francis said he was hesitant to give up a pick for a goalie.

The 2016 draft will be held at First Niagara Center in Buffalo on June 24-25.

"As I sit here today, do I want to give up a first-round pick for a goaltender that may have a year or two left on his deal and then we lose him? Not really the plan that I am looking for," he said.

Ward split time this season with Eddie Lack, 28. Lack was 12-14-6 with a 2.81 GAA, .901 save percentage and two shutouts in 34 games. He has two years remaining on his contract and will make $2.75 million in 2016-17.

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