Aaron Ward and Matt Cullen will be teammates in 2009-10. (Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff)
Aaron Ward was on the seventh hole of a North Carolina golf course today when he got the call from GM Peter Chiarelli that he'd been traded back to his old club for Patrick Eaves and a draft pick.
"I knew right off the bat," Ward said. "It's never good when your general manager calls you in the summer. He told me I was traded. I was pretty happy with the news that I'd get to go back to Carolina. He conveyed to me that he wasn't going to trade me anywhere else but Carolina. It worked out well."
While Ward reiterated his delight at returning to Raleigh (he lives in Cary, one town over), he acknowledged the disappointment of being traded from Boston. Ward had no idea he was on the market, and neither did Larry Kelly, his agent.
"This came as a complete surprise," Ward said. "I was preparing myself to be with the Boston Bruins next season. You look at the picture as a whole, and it was a team that won the Eastern Conference and finished the highest it did in a long time. In your own evaluation, you think you're a key component of that success. I had no thought process or inkling that I was moving on."
* Ward will be a teammate of Scott Walker, the forward who dropped with him a right hand in Game 5. "I'll get him back in practice," Ward joked. "Those are things that happen during the game. It's water under the bridge. I'm on his team now."
* Ward is entering the last year of his contract. He said he'd like to continue playing after 2009-10.
* The early guess is that Ward will skate with Joni Pitkanen on the second pairing.
* Ward joins ex-Bruin Andrew Alberts on the blue line.