It didn’t take long for the Minnesota Wild to come to terms with former Vancouver Canucks defenseman Keith Ballard. The two parties agreed to a two-year deal on Thursday, which will be worth $3 million overall, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.
The deal won’t become official until Friday because of CBA reasons.
Before being bought out, the 30-year-old defenseman’s contract was regularly critiqued, whether he was in the Canucks lineup or not.
He collected two assists in 36 regular season games in 2013, averaging 15:28 minutes per night (which falls about in line with his average playing time since 2010-11).
Ballard is a Minnesota native, so he must be delighted by this homecoming. As this post indicates, he could serve as a replacement for Tom Gilbert.
Oh yeah, he’s also a noted practitioner of the hip check, which many view as a dying art. Here’s a memorable one from the 2011 playoffs:
If you think the Dallas Stars are struggling because of defense more than anything else, then you’ll make sure to keep the video above “on file.”
There Kari Lehtonen was, helpless on a 2-on-0 rush for the Calgary Flames, which Johnny Gaudreau finished with calm and ease. For some, that goal is the symbol of the Stars’ season.
Either way, it was a painful goal in the Flames’ 2-1 win against the Stars. Calgary won despite Dallas firing 30 shots on goal versus the Flames’ 20.
One team climbing, the other stumbling
With that, the Flames are now on a four-game winning streak. Since falling to 5-10-1 on Nov. 12, the Flames have gone 9-3-1 in their last 13 games, pushing them to 14-13-2 overall. Gaudreau coming back is the icing on the cake after Chad Johnson really took charge of the Flames’ top job.
During a similar span, the Stars can’t seem to get it together. Dallas stood at 6-6-3 after beating the Oilers 3-2 on Nov. 11. They’re now 10-11-6, essentially standing in place as a .500 team.
Dallas can’t seem to get momentum going, a thought that might have left them envious of the team on the other end of the ice on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, it wasn’t just about Jack Eichel vs. Connor McDavid. Instead, it was a clash between a fleet of young scorers who were in their prime, with the Buffalo Sabres coming up on top against the Edmonton Oilers.