Jul 4, 2013, 1:35 PM EDT
Keith Ballard could be heading home.
The Minnesota native — soon to be officially bought out by the Vancouver Canucks — has received interest from the Wild and told the Star-Tribune he’d like to return to the place where he played collegiately.
“Minnesota’s an option,” Ballard explained. “I think for me Minnesota makes sense, that I’m familiar with the guys, obviously that I live here, that I train with some of the guys during the offseason.”
The 30-year-old defenseman could be a replacement for Tom Gilbert, who the Wild are buying out today.
As for the blueline makeup, Minnesota currently has five guys under contract for next season — Ryan Suter, Jonas Brodin, Clayton Stoner, Marco Scandella, Nate Prosser — with a new deal still required for RFA Jared Spurgeon.
Minnesota could also get 2012 first-rounder Mathew Dumba in the mix, though he doesn’t turn 19 until late July and only has a handful of AHL experience.
In the end, fitting Ballard in might come down to what he’s willing to accept.
The Wild are tight to the ceiling — $6.4 million in available space, according to CapGeek — and Ballard may have to take a reduced dollar figure with shorter term to get his ideal fit.
He said that’s not a problem.
“It’s not me looking to go play somewhere for a couple years and ride off into the sunset and have a little cash along the way and call it a day,” he said. “I think I have a lot of years left in me.
“But this is an important year for me, so it’s going to be what fits the best.”
Here’s more, from the Star-Tribune’s Mike Russo….
— Michael Russo (@Russostrib) July 4, 2013
- Ducks win crazy Game 5, push ‘Hawks to edge of elimination 13
- WATCH LIVE: Blackhawks at Ducks, Game 5 of Western Conference Final 2
- In the playoffs, sometimes it comes down to the ‘bounces’ 3
- Now feels like a good time to debate Stamkos’ next contract 26
- Here’s the latest on coaching searches in Buffalo, San Jose and New Jersey 3
- Bishop bounced back in Game 5, but did the Rangers test him enough? 9
- Surging Stamkos: Lightning put Rangers on the brink 19
- Report: Blues will stick with Hitchcock ‘barring anything dramatic’ 17
- WATCH LIVE: Lightning at Rangers, Game 5 of Eastern Conference Final 0
- Kesler on wearing down Chicago: ‘No human can withstand that many hits’ 75
- Reports: Sabres thought they had a deal with Babcock, aren’t happy (174)
- Leafs land Babcock with reported 8-year deal, estimated at $50 million (130)
- Report: Sabres negotiating with Babcock (82)
- Kesler on wearing down Chicago: ‘No human can withstand that many hits’ (75)
- What’s wrong with Lundqvist? (70)