SAN JOSE - San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) General Manager Doug Wilson announced today that the club has signed unrestricted free agent forward Joel Ward (@JRandalWard42) to a three-year contract.
Ward, 34, recorded 34 points (19 goals, 15 assists) and 30 penalty minutes in 82 games last season with Washington. He ranked 3rd on the Capitals in power-play goals (6), T-2nd in game-winning goals (4), and 4th amongst forwards in average ice time per game (16:51). Last season marked the second-consecutive season in which Ward skated in all 82 regular-season games. In addition, he posted nine points (3 goals, 6 assists) and 39 shots on goal in 14 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He was tied for the team lead in playoff points, T-3rd in goals, 4th in shots on goal and 3rd amongst Capitals forwards in average time on ice (19:02).
"Joel is a quality veteran player who can score but also plays an extremely hard-nosed brand of hockey," said Wilson. "He meshes well with our core group of forwards and has a strong track record of playing his best hockey at crucial times of the season."
"Joel is an identity player in that he plays exactly the way I want our team to play," said Sharks Head Coach Peter DeBoer. "He's big, strong, fast and hard to play against. That's exactly what we are looking for."
In 517 career NHL games with Minnesota, Nashville and Washington, Ward has compiled 220 points (97 goals, 123 assists) and a plus-17 rating. He set a career-high for points (49), goals (24) and assists (25) during the 2013-14 campaign. In 53 career playoff games, Ward has tallied 35 points (14 goals, 21 assists) and a plus-8 rating.
Internationally, Ward represented Team Canada at the 2014 World Championships, recording nine points (6 goals, 3 assists) and a plus-4 rating in eight tournament games, leading Canada in both points and goals scored (tied). His six goals ranked T-2nd in the tournament as he was named one of Canada's Top-Three Players on the Team.
Prior to his time in the NHL, Ward played in 209 American Hockey League (AHL) games for Houston, compiling 86 points (38 goals, 48 assists). Before turning pro, he spent four seasons with the University of Prince Edward Island in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) men's ice hockey league.
The six-foot-one, 225-pound native of North York, Ontario, was originally signed as a free agent by Minnesota on Sept. 27, 2006.