Joel Ward, Not Overpaid

Posted May 1, 2015

Joel Ward (Caps Outsider)

Remember when George McPhee said he overpaid for Joel Ward‘s services when he signed him to a four-year, $12 million deal? McPhee said Ward was getting extra cash because of a heroic playoff statline in 2011 with Nashville, when he scored 7 goals and added six assists in 12 games. If it weren’t for that, he’d be making less, probably on a different team.

While Ward’s overall numbers with Washington, in both the regular season and the playoffs, don’t scream ‘three million a year’ (well, maybe his career high 49 points last year do), especially compared to players who make more than him but produce less (I really can’t stand calling out Brooks Laich but you all knew who I was talking about), his continued clutch play in the postseason is precisely what the Capitals and fans need.

They needed it to beat Boston three years ago. They needed it to beat the Islanders in Round 1, and they needed it in Game 1 against the Rangers. There, Ward atoned for hitting a post earlier in the game, and in some ways, he atoned for an untimely penalty in the same building several years earlier that may have cost the Caps a playoff game.

Ward is an unrestricted free agent after this season. He’s 34 years old. He likely won’t get a raise above his current salary, and he likely won’t get more than another year or two, no matter where he signs. But no matter what happens, Ward has etched himself into the collective memory of Caps fans with his clutch play on big stages, and that’s well worth his salary.