Aaron Ward retires. But what’s that mean for his former teammate, Mike Knuble?

Like a fine wine, Mike Knuble just gets better with age.  On a day when Knuble’s former teammate Aaron Ward retired following his third knee surgery, Knuble is still going strong and looking forward to the upcoming season.

During the 2009-10 season, while Mike Knuble was 37 years old, he scored 29 goals and 53 points, finishing as one of the highest scoring unrestricted free agent signings of the summer of 2009, behind only Mikael Samuelsson.  Perhaps most impressive was that he posted the highest goals-per-game average of his career, 0.420, slightly higher than the .415 he posted in 2005-06 as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Mike Knuble

Not to be a slouch when it mattered most, Knuble also potted 2 goals, 4 assists, and 6 points in the Caps’ 7 playoff games, his highest assists per game (.571) and points per game (.857) of his playoff career.  His .286 goals-per-game was his second highest rate of production, behind only 2008-09’s 2 goals in 6 games with the Flyers. In contrast to Aaron Ward, who had myriad injury problems, Knuble is the picture of health.  Beyond a couple of claw-like fingers that have been broken, Knuble looks like he could play until he is 44.

Aaron Ward

Just a quick note on Aaron Ward and Mike Knuble, who were teammates for 7 seasons.   Both Ward and Knuble were drafted in 1991, Ward by the Winnipeg Jets and Knuble by the Detroit Red Wings.  They first became teammates at the University of Michigan from 1991-92 to 1992-93.  Ward left Michigan after a trade sent him to Detroit in 1993, and he split the 1993-94 and 1994-95 seasons between Detroit and the AHL’s Adirondack Red Wings.  It was in the 1994-95 AHL playoffs that Ward and Knuble were re-united, and, aside from a quick NHL stint for Knuble, they spent the 1995-96 season in Adirondack together.  Ward made the show for good in 1996-97 and got his name engraved on the Stanley Cup while Knuble again split time between Detroit and Adirondack.  They played the full season together in 1997-98 and have their names engraved on the Stanley Cup together at the expense of the Washington Capitals.