Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has agreed to terms with free agent defenseman Aaron Ward.
The 6-2, 225-pounder, appeared in 71 games with the Stanley Cup Champion Carolina Hurricanes last season, registering career highs in goals (six), assists (19) and points (25). His six goals tied for first among Carolina defensemen, while his 25 points ranked third among team blueliners.
Ward also led the team and tied for 13th in the league with 164 blocked shots. In 25 postseason contests, he notched two goals and three assists, along with 18 penalty minutes, helping the Hurricanes capture the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history.
"Aaron is another proven winner joining our lineup, having won three Stanley Cup Championships", said Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather. "He brings leadership and experience to our team and adds a competitive edge to our defensive corps."
A member of three Stanley Cup championship teams, Ward has skated in 552 career NHL games with the Detroit Red Wings and Carolina Hurricanes, registering 31 goals and 68 assists for 99 points, along with 501 penalty minutes. He has also appeared in 78 career playoff contests with the Hurricanes and Red Wings, collecting three goals and five assists for eight points, along with 65 penalty minutes.
Ward was originally the Winnipeg Jets' first round choice, 5th overall, in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft. On June 11, 1993, his rights were traded from Winnipeg, along with Toronto's fourth round draft pick (John Jakopin) in 1993 Entry Draft, to Detroit in exchange for Paul Ysebaert and future considerations. After seven seasons in the Red Wings' organization, he was acquired by Carolina on July 9, 2001, in exchange for a second round draft pick in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.