Ward upbeat about Canes’ future, wants to be a part of it

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Cam Ward‘s time with the Carolina Hurricanes might be over with the expiration of his six-year, $37.8 million contract, but he hopes that’s not the case.

Despite missing the playoffs for seven straight seasons now, Ward would like to stick with the only NHL franchise he’s ever played for. That’s partially because he’s comfortable and that he has an appreciation for the fact that he’s thus far managed to avoid having to uproot his family from one city to another. But it’s also because he’s bought into Carolina’s long-term plan.

He saw the contributions of rookie defenemen Noah Hanifin, Jaccob Slavin, and Brett Pesce among others and that’s made him optimistic.

“There’s been a lot of ups and downs, but I see the direction that the organization is going,” Ward told the press Tuesday, courtesy of NHL.com. “… Until I’m told otherwise, I’ll do everything to prepare as if I’m coming back.”

When asked, Ward also suggested that he would be flexible financially.

“It’s not about that,” Ward said, referring to the money. “It’s about being where I’d like to be and hopefully I get that option.”

Ward posted a 2.41 GAA and .909 save percentage in 52 games this season. The original plan going into the 2015-16 campaign was to have him compete with Eddie Lack for the starts and then potentially have Lack serve as his successor when Ward’s contract expired. However, Lack had a rough season and the Hurricanes will probably be reluctant to enter a situation where Lack is the undisputed starter for 2016-17.