On Monday, several teams released their Olympic tryout rosters and the Hurricanes will be well represented.
Eric and Jordan Staal were both invited for team Canada. Justin Faulk was invited for Team USA and Alexander Semin for Team Russia. Joni Pitkanen and Tuomo Ruutu will be attending Team Finland's Camp.
One player's absence from Canada's list caught some fans by surprise and that led to some healthy discussion on Twitter yesterday. Cam Ward was not invited.
After some disappointing seasons in Tampa Bay, Smith has had two solid seasons in Phoenix and Holtby is up and coming in Washington. Let's face it, this is a "what have you done for me lately" world and the stats do not favor Ward.
Last season, the Carolina goalie got off to a horrendous start and finished with a record of 9-6-1 with zero shutouts and a save percentage of .908. Then came his season-ending knee injury.
Holtby finished 23-12-1 with four shutouts and a .920 save percentage. Smith was 15-12-5 with five shutouts and a .910 save percentage. The other goalies named were Corey Crawford, Roberto Luongo, and Carey Price, each of whom had better stats than Ward.
In the season before that, Ward had slightly better numbers, 30-23-13, with five shutouts and a .915 save percentage, but he still finished in the middle of the pack when compared to his peers.
In 2011-12, Holtby was 4-2-1 with a .922 save percentage. Smith was outstanding, posting a .930 save percentage and a 38-18-10 record. He had eight shutouts that season.
Some in Carolina will point out that the Hurricanes defense is continually ranked among the worst in the NHL and that does not do the goalie any favors, but Ward's numbers in the shootout compared to his peers could still be considered mediocre.
Many within the Hurricanes organization continually claim Ward is among the league's best, and his pay scale matches what they they claim, but outside of Carolina the feeling does not seem to be the same.
The Hockey News last year rated him as "average" and this omission seems to confirm that he is not considered to be among the league's elite.
The club's four year absence from the playoffs also has not helped his cause, but perhaps the goalie can help change that this coming season.