Senators Sign Lance Ward and Jeff Heerema
OTTAWA - The Ottawa Senators today announced they have signed defenceman Lance Ward and right-winger Jeff Hereema to one-year contracts.
Ward, 27, did not play during the 2004-05 season. The five-year NHL defenceman split the 2003-04 season between the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and their American Hockey League affiliate, the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks. In 209 career NHL games with Anaheim and the Florida Panthers, the Lloydminster, Alta., native has recorded four goals, 12 assists, 16 points and 391 penalty minutes.
Ward saw his first NHL action with the Panthers during the 2000-01 season. Originally selected by the New Jersey Devils in the first round (10th overall) in 1996 NHL Entry Draft, Ward went back into the draft in 1998, where Florida chose him in the third round (63rd overall). Ward was with the Panthers until a trade brought him to Anaheim on Jan. 30, 2003. He was acquired, along with Sandis Ozolinsh, for Matt Cullen, Pavel Trnka and a 2003 fourth-round draft choice.
Heerema, 25, signed as a free agent with the Vancouver Canucks on Aug. 19, 2004, and then joined the AHL’s Manitoba Moose for the 2004-05 season. Playing in all 80 regular-season games, he was fifth in team scoring with 14 goals and 30 assists. He stood third in team scoring during the playoffs with 10 points (4-6) in 14 games. The Moose lost to the Chicago Wolves, 4-0, in the AHL Western Conference final.
In the last NHL season, 2003-04, Heerema started at Carolina’s training camp, but was claimed off waivers by the New York Rangers on Sept. 30. He was then claimed by the St. Louis Blues during the NHL Waiver Draft on Oct. 3, and started the regular season with the Blues. After recording three points (1-2) with St. Louis in 22 games, he was assigned to the Worcester Ice Cats on a conditioning stint for one game. He was again claimed off waivers by the Rangers and assigned to the Hartford Wolf Pack on Jan. 10. In 41 games with Hartford to wrap up the season, Heerema registered 27 points (12-15).
Heerema, Carolina’s first-round pick (11th overall) in 1998 NHL Entry Draft, played three seasons with the Ontario Hockey League’s Sarnia Sting. In his last season in 1999-2000, he led the Sting in scoring with 36 goals and 41 assists for 77 points in 67 games.
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