If you doubted that the Sharks were back in win-now mode, doubt no longer. The Sharks made their second big splash in free agency this offseason with signing of unrestricted free agent Joel Ward, 34, formerly of the Washington Capitals.
The deal is reportedly for 3 years and $9.825 million for a cap hit of $3.275 million per year. It may have some type of limited no trade clause.
"Joel is an identity player in that he plays exactly the way I want our team to play," Head Coach Peter DeBoer said in the team's press release. "He's big, strong, fast and hard to play against. That's exactly what we are looking for."
Ward played the past 4 seasons in Washington, where he saw some time with Alex Ovechkin. His put up career highs in goals (24) and points (49) in the 2013-14 season. Last year, he had 19 goals and 34 points overall in 82 games.
In San Jose, I'd imagine he'll get some time as a tweener between the second and third lines. He could potentially solidify a third line with young center Chris Tierney, or ride shotgun with Marleau and Couture, or even as the forechecking pressure on Thornton's other wing.
According to General Fanager, the Sharks now sit with roughly $1.6 million in cap space with 14 forwards and 6 defeseman. If Raffi Torres is not ready to begin the year, the Sharks could exceed that cap by his $2 millon hit.
Doug Wilson said the transition is over. The team is in win-now mode. We'll see if he makes another move to shore up the sixth defenseman spot. Could we potentially see a trade for a defenseman using a chip like Matt Nieto?