Minnesota Wild sign defenseman Keith Ballard to a 2 year deal

Welcome to the Wild Ballard! - Stephen Dunn

Ballard will most likely be the 3rd pairing counterpart to Clayton Stoner

The Minnesota Wild continued their tradition of July 4th signings today, inking defenseman Keith Ballard to a two year deal. Ballard was bought out by the Vancouver Canucks earlier this week.

Make sure to check out Brigid22's article about why Ballard would be a good fit on the Minnesota blue line here.

According to Russo and capgeek, the terms of Ballard's deal are as follows: two years for 3 million, a total cap hit of 1.5 million a year. This leaves plenty of money for the Wild to sign Jared Spurgeon to a new contract.

This also sets up the Wild with a pretty solid blueline. The projected lines for the start of the season are

Ryan Suter - Jonas Brodin

Marco Scandella - Jared Spurgeon

Clayton Stoner-Ballard

Nate Prosser

Everyone likes to hate on Stoner, but he plays well on limited minutes, and will be a decent guy for the 3rd pair.

Ballard is coming off a rough year with the Canucks, much like Tom Gilbert for the Wild. This trade is basically getting a guy who had a huge price tag but not a lot of production for a much cheaper price.

Wild fans will also be happy to learn that Ballard is not only grew up in Minnesota, but he also is a former Gopher. The Wild are well on their way of pokemon-ing all prodigal sons. Gotta catch em all, gotta catch em all...

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