NY Islanders News

2013 NHL Free Agency : Garth Snow’s Shopping List Part II

By Andy Graziano
4 of 5

Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Keith Ballard, Defenseman

2013 Club : Vancouver Canucks

2013 Salary: $4,200,000

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 202 lbs

Age: 30

Stats: 36 GP, 0 G, 2 A, 2 PTS, -2, 15:28 TOI

True story – I had someone totally different in this spot than Ballard. As I was getting ready to write my quick summation on this player, I kept saying to myself, “there has to be someone better, I am kind of embarrassed to even be including him in this list”.

That’s when I checked my twitter feed thankfully and saw the information that Vancouver’s general manager Mike Gillis would continue to make a mess of his roster by putting Ballard on waivers for the purpose of buying his contract out using the amnesty clause in the CBA.

While true that his stint in Vancouver has been nothing short of miserable, with just 3 goals and 13 assists to show for 148 games, injuries and a 6-7 minute reduction in ice time had a lot to do with that. You cannot possibly tell me that looking at the mess the Canucks have made themselves that they know how to handle the defensive side of the roster, can you?

Before his move Ballard was a very successful part of Phoenix and Florida. Playing 22 minutes a night with those two clubs over 5 seasons, the numbers are strikingly different. 33 goals and 116 assists over 397 games with only 3% missed due to injury. This is a guy who has offensive potential and is not too shabby in his own zone either.

The feeling here is there would be no qualms (with the right deal) pairing him with either Viznovsky as part of the first unit, or moving him to the third unit as a 5th/6th defender (Hamonic and A-Mac being the Isles 2nd pair). At only 30 years old, he is the youngest of my 4 mentions here in this article.

Projected armchair GM offer : 1 year, 4.5mm (marginally less than offer to Streit, prove it deal)