Dixon Ward

Dixon Ward was a scoring ace at the University of North Dakota, where he averaged close to a goal a game in his final three years. The Vancouver Canucks thought they had a steal when they watched him develop after drafting him in the 7th round of the 1988 NHL Entry Draft. In 1992-93, the Vancouver Canucks patience paid off and had an excellent rookie season, scoring 22 goals and 30 assists in 70 games, and was a plus 34, while playing on a line with Petr Nedved.

Ward, like so many second year players before him and after him, fell victim to the Sophomore Jinx in year 2. He scored just 6 goals and 7 points as Nedved held out for a new contract. By midseason the struggling ward was traded to Los Angeles where his struggles continued.

Following a very brief and unsuccessful stop with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ward moved 90 minutes down the highway to join the Buffalo Sabres, signing as a free agent on September 20, 1995. The next five years of his career were spent in the Queen City, where he transformed himself into a defensive specialist.

Ward's maturation helped the Sabres achieved some team goals. In 1996-97 the Sabres won the Northeast Division title. In 1997-98, the Sabres to reach the Eastern Conference finals before losing to the Capitals.

Ward had his best offensive season with the Sabres in 1998-99 scoring 20 goals and 44 points. In the playoffs, the Sabres won the Prince of Wales Trophy in the Eastern Conference finals before losing to the Stars in the Stanley Cup finals.

Ward left the Sabres in 2000 to sign with the Boston Bruins. He concluded his career with a brief stint in Europe and with the New York Rangers.

All told, Ward managed to stick around the NHL for 537 games. He scored 95 goals and 224 points.


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