The Washington Capitals rounded out their day by signing free agent forward Joel Ward and defenseman Roman Hamrlik to multi-year deals. Check out our Roster page for more details.
Ward, 30, is a burly winger who spent the last three seasons in Nashville, including posting 13 points in 12 playoffs games last year. The Caps locked him up for four years and $12 million. Ward should bring another dimension to the lower lines, which are quickly becoming more dynamic as McPhee continues to make signings. Ward has averaged 77 games played and 33 points over the last 3 years, but it’s his 17 points in 18 career playoff games that is the big draw. Ward joins the fraternity of Canadian University hockey players who have made the NHL, a small group that includes former Cap great Mike Ridley and Mighty Ducks standout Steve Rucchin.
Hamrlik, 37, is a highly experienced defenseman who has spent the last 4 seasons in Montreal. At 2 years and $7 million, “The Hammer” should be expected to fill the void left by Tom Poti, who seems all but retired at this point. The first overall pick in 1992, Hamrlik has posted at least 21 points in each of his 18 NHL seasons, including 34 last season, and has averaged 77 games per season over the last 5. With 1,311 regular season games and 97 playoff games under his belt, he easily becomes the Caps’ most experienced player with the departure of Jason Arnott. The big Czech is still seeking a Stanley Cup championship to go with his 1998 Olympic Gold Medal.