Aaron Ward had a feeling something was in the works on the eve of the NHL trade deadline, and that feeling was proven correct on the big day, as the Carolina Hurricanes shipped their veteran defenceman to the Anaheim Ducks for a young goaltender and a draft pick.
Carolina acquired Justin Pogge and a fourth-round selection for Ward, a 37-year-old who has admitted he might be in the final season of his career. The fourth-round pick is conditional, originally held by the Boston Bruins, and will be received by the Hurricanes this year or next year.
"From the perspective of, 'was I happy?' I'm happy for the fact I feel it's a new lease on life, a reprieve in some capacity," Ward said in an interview early Wednesday afternoon. "In October and November, admittedly, I probably had one of the poorest runs of hockey in my career and I wasn't very happy with it."
Pogge, a 23-year-old prospect originally drafted by the Leafs six years ago, has spent the season in the AHL with San Antonio. He has a 12-7-3 record with a .920 save percentage.
Ward was a healthy scratch for Carolina's 5-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs Tuesday night. He had one goal and 10 assists through 60 games with the Hurricanes.
"Aaron Ward brings valuable experience and is a proven winner with three Stanley Cup championships," said Ducks general manager Bob Murray in a release. "We are pleased to bring him on board."