New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather
announced today that the club has agreed to terms with unrestricted free agent forward Jason Ward.
"Jason has proven to be a strong character player who can fill multiple roles," stated Sather. "He has demonstrated his scoring ability at the AHL level and we feel he can come in and contribute both offensively and defensively for us."
Ward, 26, appeared in 77 games with the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League (AHL) last season, registering 20 goals and 34 assists for 54 points, along with 66 penalty minutes. His 54 points and 34 assists ranked second on the club, while his 20 goals ranked third. In four post-season contests, he tallied two goals and one assist for the Bulldogs.
The 6-3, 203-pounder has appeared in 110 career NHL games with the Montreal Canadiens, registering 10 goals and 10 assists for 20 points, along with 43 penalty minutes. His best NHL campaign came in 2003-04 when he skated in 53 contests for the Canadiens, recording five goals and seven assists for 12 points, all career bests. Ward has also skated in 296 career games with Fredericton Canadiens, Quebec Citadelles and Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL, registering 97 goals and 135 assists for 232 points, along with 390 penalty minutes. He established professional career bests in 2002-03 with Hamilton, collecting 31 goals and 41 assists for 72 points. Following the season, Ward was named the AHL's MVP and a First Team All-Star. He also participated in the 2003 AHL All-Star Classic. During the 2003 Calder Cup Playoffs, he ranked first in the AHL in scoring with 12 goals and nine assists for 21 points in 23 post-season contests, leading Hamilton to the Calder Cup Final.
Internationally, Ward has represented Canada in several tournaments, including the 1998 and 1999 World Junior Championships, capturing a silver medal in 1999.
The Chapleau, Ontario native was Montreal's first choice, 11th overall, in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft.