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Ballard: ‘Minnesota makes sense’ after Canucks buyout

Jul 4, 2013, 1:35 PM EST

Keith Ballard

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.”

UPDATE:

Here’s more, from the Star-Tribune’s Mike Russo….

 

  1. bcisleman - Jul 4, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    Doesn’t Dumba have to be 20 to play in the AHL? How does he have ANY AHL experience?

    • Mike Halford - Jul 4, 2013 at 1:48 PM

      He went there after the completion of his junior season and played a handful of games, which is one of the few rules that allows U-20 players to get some AHL experience.

    • ray2013 - Jul 4, 2013 at 1:53 PM

      @bcisleman: Once his junior team finished for the season, he could go to the AHL. I remember the Oilers did that with Eberle once upon a time.

    • rsmaggiemae - Jul 4, 2013 at 3:00 PM

      Bring him back to Minnesota where he belonged in the first place.
      I also wanted Leopold but that did not work out.
      I always wanted to keep as many guys from the midwest on the Wild as possible
      I think he would have to take less dollars and maybe a two way contract
      until next year when there is more money in the pot for players
      I thnk Dumba can play in 10 games for the 2013-2014 for his age at pro level
      I would be very happy to see Ballard back in Minnesota
      Wild need D-men badly and a sniper who can score goals..

  2. uscthom78 - Jul 4, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    Gone:

    Ballard
    Schneider

    Soon to be gone:
    David Booth
    Chris Higgins
    Tom Sesito

    If pattern holds true, Kesler is probably going to be gone too.

    • loinstache - Jul 4, 2013 at 2:34 PM

      Higgins and Sestito were just signed to new deals and Booth can’t be bought out because of his injury, not that they should otherwise… maybe next time aim for 1/3?

  3. homegrowntalentmn - Jul 4, 2013 at 5:34 PM

    Ballard would be nice. But at the right low price and after we lock up spurgeon. Also stoner needs to go or make him the 7th D-man.

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