Tag: Keith Ballard

Keith Ballard

Report: Ballard, Leopold leaning towards retirement


Veteran defensemen Keith Ballard and Jordan Leopold have likely played their final NHL game, according to Michael Russo of the Star Tribune.

A concussion limited Ballard to just 14 games last season. The 32-year-old was the recipient of a Matt Martin hit on Dec. 9, which sent him to hospital. Ballard, who recorded one assist and a minus-3 rating while averaging 12:03 in ice time, is still not 100 percent nearly nine months later.

“I’m just trying to get healthy,” Ballard said. “If I make a full recovery from this one, I’ll chalk it up to good luck. But I admit, if I’m hit like this again, I’m a little freaked out about what would happen the next time.”

Ballard’s two-year, $3 million contract expired in July and he remains an unrestricted free agent. The Minnesota native appeared in 604 career NHL games with the Arizona Coyotes, Florida Panthers, Vancouver Canucks and Wild.

Leopold, a fellow unrestricted free agent, doesn’t have his agent making calls to teams.

Leopold, who was dealt by the Blue Jackets to the Wild in March at the request of his daughter, appeared in 18 games with Minnesota last season registering one assist and a plus-1 rating while averaging 13:19 a night in ice time.

Russo reports that Leopold and his wife are in the process of opening an events and wedding center on the Bluffs of the Mississippi.

Neither player has formally announced their retirement.

Related: It’s Minnesota Wild day at PHT

Wild GM on Dubnyk talks: ‘The dialogue has been good’

Marco Scandella, Devan Dubnyk

Both the Minnesota Wild and Devan Dubnyk’s reps admit the obvious: contract talks won’t be easy. On the bright side, it sounds like each side hopes to get something done.

Wild GM Chuck Fletcher and Dubnyk’s agent Mike Liut spoke to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun about the beginning of the give-and-take.

“That’s the goal on both sides, we’ve started the process,” Fletcher said. “I’m certainly hopeful, but it takes a little bit of time to get everything in place, there’s a lot of moving pieces. But the dialogue has been good, we’ll see what transpires.”

As PHT pointed out before, this could be a fascinating situation, especially if Dubnyk indeed costs “well north of $3 million.”

It seems pretty obvious that Dubnyk would like to stay in Minnesota, even beyond comments that may be construed as positive PR. That said, assessing Dubnyk’s market value is a subjective process, to say the least.

The biggest factor is the Wild’s cap situation, though, really. LeBrun points out that the Wild hope to figure out a solution for Niklas Backstrom and his $3.42 million cap hit, whether that comes down to a trade (good luck) or a buyout.

Consider these two points about Minnesota’s cap situation, though:

  • Even if they’re stuck with Backstrom, his contract expires after 2015-16. They also get rid of some shaky deals, such as Keith Ballard’s contract. The Wild’s situation isn’t all bad, in other words.
  • General Fanager pegs Minnesota’s upcoming cap space at about $7.8 million. They have some fish to fry (especially deals for Mikael Granlund and maybe Kyle Brodziak), but you get the impression that they have a good chance to retain Dubnyk … if the price is right.

It would be a bit surprising to see Dubnyk leave Minnesota, yet a lot can happen before (and after) July 1.

No supplemental discipline for Bollig after boarding Jackman

Philadelphia Flyers v Calgary Flames

Calgary’s Brandon Bollig won’t face any disciplinary hearing for his hit on St. Louis defenseman Barret Jackman Thursday night, an NHL spokesman has confirmed.

Here’s the incident in question. Bollig was given a five-minute boarding major and game misconduct:

Jackman left the game momentarily but did return, and finished with over 17 minutes of ice time.

The Department of Player Safety opted not to further punish Bollig despite his history as a repeat offender; during last year’s playoffs, he was suspended two games for boarding Minnesota Wild defenseman Keith Ballard.