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Canucks inform Ballard that contract will be bought out

Jul 3, 2013, 10:59 AM EST

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On Monday, the Canucks placed Keith Ballard on regular waivers with the intention of buying out his contract.

Today, they informed the much-maligned defenseman they were going to do exactly that.

Ballard’s agent, Ben Hankinson, told News1130 Sports Vancouver that Canuck brass informed his client the remaining two years and $8.4 million of his contract would be bought out.

The move comes after Ballard cleared waivers and the Canucks “pushed the trade front” leading up to Sunday’s draft, according to Hankinson.

A former Coyote and Panther that scored 39 points in his rookie campaign, Ballard never found his fit in Vancouver after being acquired from Florida for a relatively steep price — Michael Grabner, Steve Bernier and Vancouver’s first-round pick at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, which the Panthers used to select Quinton Howden.

Ballard was often made a healthy scratch under head coach Alain Vigneault, and even got a brief twirl at forward as the club tried to implement him into the lineup however possible.

In the end, though, the club clearly didn’t trust him in important moments. The Canucks have played 34 postseason games since Ballard came aboard; he only played in 14 of them.

With the move, Vancouver gains some much-needed cap space (it now has $7.4 million, according to CapGeek.)

  1. davebabychreturns - Jul 3, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    Seeya Keith.

    The team paid through the nose to get this guy, couldn’t get their money’s worth out of him at their absolute peak.. between the value lost in the trade and the $4m of cap space allocated to a healthy scratch in the playoffs, this might have cost them a Cup.. and now they’ll buy him out because they just can’t wait any longer.

    I’m open to the idea that the team did not let Ballard play to his strengths for whatever reason, but ultimately if you’re an NHL vet on a long term, big money contract and you can’t even simplify your game and beat out the Aaron Romes and Andrew Alberts of the league for ice time.. that’s on you.

    I don’t particularly dislike Ballard.. but man, what a waste.

  2. hockeydon10 - Jul 3, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    He certainly has the skill to play in the NHL. Just not necessarily on the teams heavy with good defensemen.

    The most amazing part? This summer’s free agent pool isn’t exactly loaded with d-men, meaning he’ll get several offers and someone will pay.

  3. hosewater2 - Jul 3, 2013 at 11:47 AM

    Steep price? Letting go of Grabner was a mistake, but FLA ended up doing him one worse. Bernier was stone hands and had no purpose. Howden hasn’t amounted to much yet, but may.

    Not saying I like the trade and would take it back in a heartbeat.

    • davebabychreturns - Jul 3, 2013 at 12:21 PM

      Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Michael Grabner was going to have a big impact in Vancouver if he stuck around (he’s basically publicly said that getting waived by the Panthers was what it took for him to get serious – and even then the Isles gave him a pretty long leash).

      That being said, if the team had taken their chances on a free agent instead of trading for Ballard, or traded for another player (Nathan Horton moved right around the same time, personally I was a big proponent of trying to make a splash and get a guy like Andrew Ladd from the Thrashers) or waited and used those assets to scoop someone up at the deadline (where guys like Dustin Penner, Chris Kelly, Rich Peverly, Kris Versteeg, Mike Fisher were available) it could have made a world of difference.

      Of course it is 20/20 hindsight, I don’t blame the Canucks for making a mistake – it’s just pretty obvious right now that the assets and cap space could have been put to vastly better use. Ballard was a shell of himself and barely even playable by the time the Finals rolled around.

      • hosewater2 - Jul 3, 2013 at 12:57 PM

        Yes, but after the playoffs that year VAN had basically run out of warm bodies who play defense, so getting more D was the priority.

        Now there’s $7mil to employ 7 players, including resigning Tanev. I hope several of the farmhands can make the jump.

      • davebabychreturns - Jul 3, 2013 at 1:29 PM

        Yeah, no I agree.

        Like I said it’s 20/20 hindsight to say that they shouldn’t have got Ballard.. my original point wasn’t to criticize the Canucks, just to point out they paid full value and then some to get him and it’s been a complete waste.

        Oh well – onwards and upwards for both parties hopefully.

  4. stcrowe - Jul 3, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    He hasn’t been the same player since he nearly decapitated his own goalie and became a Youtube joke. To this day, I laugh at the mere mention of his name.

  5. kingcobraman - Jul 3, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    to a drunken Gillis he looked like Bobby Orr ….

  6. littlepieceofplastic - Jul 3, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    What’s the difference between “regular waivers” leading to a buyout, and a “compliance buyout.” How does this not count as a compliance buyout? Does it impact the cap differently somehow?

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