Wild sign Keith Ballard for two years, $3M

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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:

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