Wild signs Ballard 05 Jul 13

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher today announced the National Hockey League (NHL) club has signed free agent defenseman Keith Ballard to a two-year contract.

Ballard will be available to the media today at 1 p.m. in the Wild locker room. Media can park in the RiverCentre Parking Ramp.

Ballard, 30 (11/26/82), has collected 165 points (36-129=165) and 549 penalty minutes (PIM) in 545 career NHL games during eight seasons with the Phoenix Coyotes, Florida Panthers and Vancouver Canucks. He has tallied one assist in 14 career NHL playoff matches. Ballard recorded two assists in 36 contests with the Canucks last season. The 5-foot-11, 208-pound native of Baudette, Minn., played three seasons at the University of Minnesota (2001-04) where he helped the Gophers win back-to-back NCAA championships in 2002 and 2003. He was named to the NCAA West First All-American and a Hobey Baker Memorial Award Finalist in 2004.

Ballard has played for the United States at the World Championship (2004, 2007, 2008 and 2009), World Junior Championship (2002) and U18 World Championship (2000). He was originally selected by Buffalo in the first-round (11th overall) of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.