Dear Brad: Please Don’t Trade For Cam Ward

The Calgary Flames are in a bit of a bind.

Heading into Friday’s action, they’re near the bottom of the NHL’s standings and one of several reasons for that is they can’t keep the puck out of their net. Through 10 games, they’ve allowed 40 goals – four per game, which is hardly a recipe for success.

Now, it’s natural to explore some options to upgrade any part of the team that they can at this point, but Eric Duhatschek’s suggestion on Sportsnet 960 The Fan’s morning show yesterday scared the heck out of me. Duhatschek, a man I greatly respect, suggested something a bit out to left field: that the Flames chase Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward.

I have this desperate plea for Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving: please don’t trade for Cam Ward.


Through the first 10 games of the season, the Flames goaltending has been a three-headed monster. Some of that is because of lacklustre performances by all three goalies involved, but some of that has also been because Brad Treliving decided they couldn’t bear to lose Joni Ortio on waivers.

Through 10 games, here’s a breakdown of Calgary’s goaltending (and Cam Ward is included for comparison’s sake). [All numbers are even-strength.]

Adj. Sv% Low Medium High
Jonas Hiller .877 .980 .854 .738
Karri Ramo .854 .944 .947 .619
Joni Ortio .907 .952 .909 .833
Cam Ward .916 .972 .949 .795

Right now, based on pretty low sample sizes, Ward seems a pretty decent option, right? Well, let’s expand the sample size a bit…and you’ll see why Carolina wants to rid themselves of him and his contract.


Since the 2012-13 lockout, here’s a look at where Cam Ward stacks up against some of Calgary’s goaltenders.

  • Jonas Hiller has played 135 games with a .925 unadjusted save percentage (.925 adjusted)
  • Reto Berra has played 54 games with a .918 unadjusted save percentage (.918 adjusted)
  • Karri Ramo has played 77 games with a .915 unadjusted save percentage (.917 adjusted)
  • CAM WARD has played 106 games with a .915 unadjusted save percentage (.913 adjusted)

So what does all of that mean? Cam Ward is appreciably worse than Jonas Hiller (who is two years older than him) over the past three seasons (and change), and actually a tad worse than both Reto Berra and Karri Ramo when you adjust for quality of shots against.

No wonder Carolina wants to get rid of him.

The funnier thing is that Cam Ward is more expensive than both of Calgary’s veteran options: his $6.3 million cap hit dwarfs both Hiller’s $4.5 million and Ramo’s $3.8 million, and that’s for a goalie that’s worse than both of them.

Since such a swap would probably involve flipping Jonas Hiller (and assets) for Cam Ward (and other asset), let’s put their differences in real terms. Cam Ward faced 2,060 even-strength shots between the lock-out and now and allowed 192 even-strength goals over 106 games. If Jonas Hiller faced 2,060 comparable even-strength shots, he would have given up 155 goals over the same 106 games – 37 fewer goals over the same time-span, or roughly one fewer goal for every three games he played. Over the course of a season, that’s huge.


Cam Ward is a bit younger than Jonas Hiller. But he’s also more expensive than Hiller and over the past several seasons has been significantly worse than Hiller.

It doesn’t make any sense to expend assets and potentially disrupt the locker room in order to swap Jonas Hiller for a worse goaltender. If they want a worse goaltender, Karri Ramo’s already in the organization.

There’s no tangible benefit to trading for Cam Ward. Please don’t do it.

  • piscera.infada

    The only real way I would consider it is if you’re getting rid of one of the entrenched goalies (Ramo and Hiller), and getting rid of one bad contract in addition.

    That isn’t going to happen though. One would imagine Carolina would want actual tangible assets in return. Cam Ward isn’t worth more than a salary dump at this point, so you’re right.

    In all honesty, I don’t understand the “trade for a goalie” mantra. Yes, I understand better goaltending is necessary to make the playoffs, but if the Flames can’t get that out of one of the in-house keepers, then playoffs probably aren’t happening anyway. I don’t see why you’d give up assets, and further cloud you’re cap situation going forward (some of the names being floated around are: Elliott, Bishop, Anderson/Khudobin–any of those who are even minor upgrades will want term to be resigned). And again, the way this team has played to start the season off, I’m not sure it makes you appreciably better. I’m much more likely to ride this season out with the goaltending currently here, and hope that out of three ‘tenders, someone will figure it out sooner rather than later. If that doesn’t happen, you’ve got all offseason to figure out a relatively inexpensive stop-gap goalie.

    The last thing this organization can afford to do is chase a unicorn goalie right into a further cap crunch.

  • Ward is a bum. You redeemed yourself with this for your horrible take on Arcobello the other day Pike.

    Speaking of which, you said the other day a team will 100% claim Arcobello on waivers. So, did he get claimed as you said he would or not?

  • If the Flames loose these next two games against Montreal and Edmonton.. that could very well be the nail in the coffin for this season and put us in the lead for the Auston Matthews sweeps.

    I don’t see how a lateral trade for Cam Ward makes any sense (unless the Flames unload some bad contracts of their own.. Raymond, Smid, Engelland)

    With Hiller and Ramo gone at the end of the year, and Gillies coming up, BT would be best to leave it alone.

    • Bean-counting cowboy

      Agreed. If the Flames lose those two games… I would absolutely welcome a Cam Ward for Laddy Smid Trade. Ward’s deal is up after this year. It’s next year we face the cap crunch.

      Or offer them options such as: Ramo or Hiller with 1/2 salary retained by the Flames + any one of Engelland, Smid or Raymond (no salary retained) for Cam Ward. If they want 2 of those 3 we smile even broader 😉

    • Bean-counting cowboy

      we have no chance at Austin Matthews, we are not as bad as our current record and we will finish well ahead of last place. Maybe probably pick 6th-12th at worst/best depending how you look at it.

      • piscera.infada

        The thing about the draft lottery this year is you could finish last, and end up drafting fourth. The whole idea of tanking anything is even more dumb now than it was in prior years. I stand by my claim at this time last year: we are still rebuilding, finish where you finish, and draft where you draft.

        I do agree with you though, this team is not bad enough to finish at the absolute bottom. Playoffs are very much a reach at this point, but this team can still take some positive steps forward like becoming a corsi positive team, and learning to play a sustainable offensive system. Who knows, if some magic happens, I’ll gladly take it.

        • piscera.infada

          but this team can still take some positive steps forward like becoming a corsi positive team

          And they’ve already made some steps here, as they’ve won the Corsi battle in four consecutive games (though that includes the Islanders game where they lost the score-close battle, so I guess that doesn’t count).

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    I’m very much entertained by FN posters that think teams will trade away a valuable asset to the Flames and gladly assume there garbage and cap problems…I guess it gives them some sense of satisfaction….

      • Bean-counting cowboy

        That’s your view… view is that Cam Ward is far more consistent than the garbage we have been seeing the last couple of years. And too think that they will take one of Smid, England or Raymond is hilarious…even more hilarious you even suggested they may take 2 out of the 3….wow!!

        But we may agree to disagree…being able to freely express opinions, with challenge, is the great thing about this website…and the entertainment is free of charge….

        • Burnward

          Hi Everyone…can’t help but wonder how Cam Ward would have done tonight…An experienced proven goalie that can still play and is 2 years younger than Hiller….has had 30 win seasons….Ortio not ready….the other boozo’s are barely back-ups…The defense will also play with much more confidence behind a competent goalie!!

        • piscera.infada

          I love comments like this. Guy uses math to prove a point empirically, and you brush it off as opinion.

          There is 0 evidence to suggest Cam Ward is consistent.

          Actually that’s not true. His numbers have been well below average in 4 of the past 5 years. That’s pretty consistent.

      • TRAIN#97

        Cam Ward is not the answer, but I don’t think management has confidence in Ramo or Hillier.
        Ortio might be the guy but I’m sure Calgary is not gonna trust going with a guy that has this few amount of NHL games.

        • OKG

          Would wait until the offseason and see if we can get Talbot. Two birds with one stone, add a good goaltender to hold the fort as Ortio/Gillies/McDonald/Schneider develop at their own pace, and take away from Edmonton fans’ hopes.

          • piscera.infada

            Looks like Anaheim are looking at dumping Freddy Andersen. Would it not be worth an inquiry as to what that would cost us. What does Anaheim need to turn it around?

          • TRAIN#97

            I’m not sure why Edmonton can’t sign Talbot till after January 1/16 but if he keeps playing like he is I’m sure they will get a deal done.
            I know Flame fans don’t see it but Edmonton is playing way different and better than last year and I’m sure Talbot wants to stay aboard TRAIN #97.

  • RKD

    Agreed, Cam Ward won a Stanley Cup 9 years ago but hasn’t done anything much since then. His save% isn’t great nor is his GAA. The only thing going for him is having five 30 win seasons. I would not take him on at that price tag even if he is two years younger. If Cam Ward came here then he should be a back up to Ortio. Who cares if the Canes are in cap trouble, they have wanted to unload Ward for years but no takers given his cap hit and not so great play. There’s been some buzz about targeting Ben Bishop. Now that would make a lot more sense.

  • Burnward

    It’s been the proverbial beating of a dead horse, this team, not as a whole, is bad. Bad goaltending, bad defensive coverage, bad passing etc. Ortio is not the answer either and the confidence on this team, if there ever was any, is being chipped away after each goal against and subsequently, each loss. Calgary has allowed 42 goals against and almost an average of 4 goals per game against. Gaudreau continues to shine, Russell continues to be taken to school almost everytime that he is on the ice. Treliving’s comments about him having faith in the group that they have now is laughable, as the 2-8-1 record indicates, and no changes in the forseeable future. Go and get Cam Ward, how has the goaltending been for us so far? Line juggling isn’t working, Ortio, Ramo and Hiller, aren’t working, see what we can get for Russell, Smid, Bollig, Wideman, etc. Forget waiting, if the season isn’t already lost, it soon will be.