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Hurricanes sign goaltender Ward to 3-year deal

NHL.com @NHL

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -The Carolina Hurricanes signed goaltender Cam Ward - the most valuable player of the team's run to the Stanley Cup last year - to a three-year contract Thursday.

Ward will earn $2 million next season, $2.5 million in the 2008-09 season and $3.5 million in 2009-10. The 23-year-old made $684,000 last year in the final year of the three-year entry-level contract he signed in 2004.

As a rookie, Ward won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the postseason when leading the Hurricanes past the Edmonton Oilers in a seven-game Stanley Cup finals last June. This season - his first as the Hurricanes' No. 1 goaltender - Ward had 30 wins in 60 games while allowing 2.93 goals per game.

The Hurricanes picked Ward in the first round of the 2002 draft.

"Cam is one of the cornerstones of our team moving forward," said Jim Rutherford, Carolina's president and general manager. "He has already built an impressive resume for himself at a young age, and we believe he is going to be one of the elite goaltenders in the National Hockey League for a long time."

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