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The 30-year-old right wing nearly matched his 80-game regular season numbers in the playoffs, leading the Predators with seven goals and six assists during that 12-game stretch. His dynamic performance helped Nashville capture its first playoff series victory.

Coming to a hungry franchise that will settle for nothing less than a Stanley Cup, Ward is confident he can help keep his teammates loose when the pressure mounts toward season’s end.

“The expectations are pretty high,” Ward said. “There’s definitely a sense of urgency, but you can’t put too much pressure on yourself. You definitely can’t execute when you do that. You just have to relax and just trust in one another and try to bond well as a team.”

Like Brouwer, the 6-foot-1, 218-pound Ward offers a gritty, physical presence that can bang opponents against the boards and force turnovers on the offensive end.

His checking ability helps fill the voids left by Matt Bradley and Boyd Gordon, who combined for just eight goals and 12 assists last season.

Ward’s versatility and willingness to do whatever is asked of him means he could fit into just about any of the team’s four lines. He knows his job isn’t to lead the squad in goal scoring, meaning he can focus on helping the Caps win in other ways.

“I think I know my role. It’s no secret I’m not going to go out there and score 50 goals,” Ward said. “For myself, it’s just to keep pucks out and make things happen for my linemen, and the main thing is just winning hockey games. If we can do that and jell and grow as a team, I think things will work out.”