33-Year-Old Defenseman – Free Agent
Keith Ballard Contract Information:
Became an unrestricted free agent in July 2015.
Ballard (concussion) has officially retired from hockey, Michael Russo of the Star Tribune reports.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Keith Ballard.
Ballard is no longer the 20-plus point player he was before moving to Vancouver in the 2010-11 season. His game is in decline and his possession numbers have been in the negative for three of the last four seasons. He's not providing the Wild with what they need, despite being a calming veteran presence in the locker room. So, like last season, he's likely to be scratched in favor of younger players like Matt Dumba or Christian Folin. He'll get 40-50 games, but there may be better alternatives with higher upside available in your draft or on waivers.
Ballard's three-year stint as a Canuck was a major disappointment (16 points in 148 games), but he's still only 30 years old and may be able to rebound in Minnesota. He'll likely compete for a spot on the second or third defensive pairing. Watch and wait to see how he fits in his new digs before making a fantasy commitment.
Ballard had another disppointing season for the Canucks in 2011-12, finishing with just seven points (1 G, 6 A) in 47 games. Aside from the occasional healthy scratch, he also missed significant time due to a concussion and a neck injury. Both issues appear to be a thing of the past, though, as Ballard was able to return for the Canucks’ first-round playoff loss to the Kings. His lofty contract ($4.2 million) will keep him in the mix for a spot in the Canucks’ top six on the back end, but Ballard will need to produce to hold on to the No. 5 or No. 6 spot in the defensive rotation. Forget about his glory days in Florida, Ballard is a long way from reaching those type of 30-point years that used to seem a given.
Ballard was a big disappointment in his first season with the Canucks. After averaging 30 points per season through his first five years in the NHL, Ballard managed just seven points in his debut campaign with Vancouver. He was routinely a healthy scratch by the end of the regular season, and only saw ice time in the playoffs due to multiple injuries on the Canucks’ back end. Despite his abysmal debut up north, Ballard is a bounce-back candidate for the 2011-12 season. With Christian Erhroff now patrolling the blue line in Buffalo, Ballard, with his cap hit of $4.2 million, will be asked to take on a bigger role with the Canucks. He’s a late-round flier, but Ballard could return to the 30-point range we’ve seen from him in past seasons.
Ballard will be sporting his third sweater in four seasons after an offseason trade to Vancouver. The 28-year-old blueliner hasn’t been able to live up to the 40-point promise he showed during his rookie campaign in 2005-06, but he has developed into a blue-chip defenseman at the NHL level. His move from a cellar-dwelling team in Florida to a talent-rich roster in Vancouver should result in more scoring opportunities and a much better plus/minus rating. Ballard won’t be a defensive option to build your fantasy team around, but he’ll be a solid addition to your stable of blueliners.
Ballard won't be a first-tier fantasy defenseman, but he's definitely a secondary or tertiary option worth consideration when drafts and auction are winding down. He had a tidy 6-28—34 last season and should be in line for about the same.
Armed with a new long-term deal, Ballard will break onto the Panthers scene with intriguing possibilities. While it would be somewhat outlandish to suggest he could produce 39 points like he did in 2005-06, Ballard does seem likely improve upon the 21 points he posted last season. Furthermore, he will probably get in a few more fights with a Florida team that has lacked pugilists in years past, so expect a bump in PIMs as well.
Keith Ballard is one of the blue chip defensemen in the NHL. Beginning his third year, Ballard has already proven his value with being ranked second on the team in hits and blocked shots, and third on the team in overall ice time. Look for Ballard to continue his notable progress in 2007-2008, and become one of the elite defensemen.
Ballard is set to embark upon his sophomore year after having a stellar rookie season. Phoenix added some defenseman this season, so Ballard's role is not yet defined, but after such a successful debut, he should be looking to match last year's productivity.
Along with Mara and a few others, Ballard is one of the young, talented defensemen on the Coyotes. Phoenix has big hopes for Ballard, who was the team’s 2002 first-round pick (11th overall). Unlike many of the Coyotes, he played during the lockout. In his first pro season, he tied for Utah’s (AHL) team lead in assists with 18 and also played in the 2005 AHL All-Star game. He’s a good choice in keeper leagues.