• SHARE:
  • email
  • Bookmark and Share

Vancouver Canucks acquire veteran defenceman Keith Ballard from Florida

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The Vancouver Canucks made a deal to shore up their blue-line at the NHL draft on Friday, acquiring defenceman Keith Ballard from the Florida Panthers.

Vancouver also received forward Victor Oreskovich in the deal.

"We had a good feel for these two players," said Canucks general manager Mike Gillis. "We tried to address two needs: a puck-moving defenceman and more size. Our defence was our weak point last year, and we wanted to address it."

In return for Ballard and Oreskovich, Florida got forwards Steve Bernier and Michael Grabner, as well as the 25th overall pick in the draft.

Florida used the pick to select Winnipeg native Quinton Howden, who played for Moose Jaw in the Western Hockey League last season.

The 27-year-old Ballard had 28 points (eight goals, 20 assists) in 82 games for the Panthers and comes at a priceā€”he's due to make US$4.2 million each of the next five years.

"He has a real edge," Gillis said. "He can play on the power play. He can kill penalties. We wanted a defenceman who hit really hard and competed really hard, and he brings it."

Ballard will likely replace Willie Mitchell, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Bernier, a veteran of four NHL seasons, had 11 goals and 11 assists in 59 games for the Canucks in 2009-10. Grabner, a rookie from Austria last season, played in just 20 games for the Canucks.

Rounds two through seven of the draft go Saturday. Vancouver's next pick in is the fourth round, 115th overall. The Canucks also have selections in the fifth, sixth and seventh rounds.

"The last two years, we drafted really well," Gillis said. "We have a number of development players and we're going to continue to be active in the college free-agent market."

Howden broke his left leg as a six year old, and had to wear a chest-to-toe body cast. He had to learn to walk again before starting to play hockey at age seven.

Last season with Moose Jaw, Howden compiled 28 goals and 37 assists in 65 games.

More Stories

Vancouver Canucks know success on the power play is key for playoff return

WHISTLER, B.C. - The Vancouver Canucks know a return to the playoffs will largely hinge on...

Ryan Miller still surprised he landed in the Vancouver Canucks' crease

WHISTLER, B.C. - Ryan Miller still can't quite believe where ended up. In his first training...

LA Kings defenceman Drew Doughty misses 1st workout of training camp with upper-body injury

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. - Los Angeles Kings defenceman Drew Doughty missed the first practice of...

Ottawa defenceman Methot moves on from tough contract talks as Sens open camp

OTTAWA - Marc Methot was feeling the need to be on the defensive entering Ottawa Senators...
blog comments powered by Disqus

THN on Twitter

Will the Blue Jackets and Ryan Johansen agree on a contract before the start of the regular season?




Contests

Our Partners