Is Ballard worth the risk?

Is Ballard worth the risk?

Is Ballard worth the risk?

With the NHL draft behind us, the attention turns to the free agency period beginning on July 5th. In the mean time, teams begin to offload salary and make roster changes in anticipation of auction season. One of the moves that has already been made has seen Vancouver place Keith Ballard on waivers (regular waives, not buyout waivers). While the Rangers have already attempted to add blueline depth by adding Justin Falk, the Rangers could consider taking a risk on Keith Ballard.

Ballard has been a marginal player for the Canucks despite having a cap numbing $4.2m cap hit. His contract doesn’t come off the books until after the 2014/15 season. That said, Ballard is only 30, can skate well and is a solid player at both ends of the rink when he’s on his game. Much of the decision here depends on the organization’s intentions with Michael Del Zotto (once again thrown into the rumour mill by Brooks) and the health of Marc Staal. With Mike Sauer no longer in contention, the Rangers would really solidify their blueline if Ballard would pan out.

Whichever team decides to take a run at Ballard will have to do so quickly, thanks to him being on waivers. Assuming he doesn’t clear, teams interested in the former Panther will have to make a quick decision on taking on $4.2m/year for another two years, and while it isn’t a daunting amount to take on, it is a significant commitment in the short term.

Ballard could help the Rangers. The Rangers need more blueline generated offense and he’d have the potential to be a 30-point guy in New York. Ballard has had injury issues in Vancouver which have limited his effectiveness, but he’d be a familiar addition for Alain Vigneault. Whether that’s a good thing or not is another issue. Ballard saw the press box a lot last year under Vigneault but maybe a change would benefit the Canuck blueliner. Maybe.

Sometimes you need to take a risk and take a chance on a player whose rep has taken a hit. With free agency being very underwhelming this offseason, and players available in July traditionally being overpaid, maybe Ballard is in fact a better option than those available on the open market. Maybe.

9 Responses to “Is Ballard worth the risk?”

  1. Dave says:

    Pass.

    My internet is screwy, so I don’t know how much actual salary he has left, but a team looking to hit the cap floor but remain on a budget comes to mind. The Islanders are a good match here.

  2. Rangers Fan in Boston says:

    $4.2M per season? Emphatic no thanks.

    • Walt says:

      My inital reaction was the same, but then I thought, and I may be wrong, if claimed, Vancouver pays half the money?????

      If I’m right, that would be $2.1 mil per, for the next two years, maybe we think about it!!!!

  3. TxRanger says:

    this guy is too expensive and too old for us. you know how it is for guys hitting 30 around here.

    what about the newbury/syvret trade? building more defensive depth or purely an ahl move?

  4. Spozo says:

    4.2 million. Why not use that money (or part of it) to sign Clowe?

  5. cv19 says:

    Most of what you said about him says “stay away”!