Ballard loves Sunrise

Keith Ballard, just acquired by the Florida Panthers along with Nick Boynton in the Jokinen trade, has just signed a 6 years extension with the Cats. Terms have yet to be disclosed.

With this 6 years contract extension, the Panthers now have a solid top 3 for years to come. Ballard, McCabe and Allen are all under contract until at least the end of the 2011 season. With the possible (unprobable, but possible) resigning of Jay Bouwmeester, the Panthers would have one of the best d-corp of the NHL. With Vokoun in the nets until 2011, we can say the Panthers are set in the backend.

Ballard being one of the best young d-man in the NHL, with good puck-moving abilities, strong physical play and great leadership, I expect this deal to be between 4 and 5 millions per year. Assuming he will continue to develop into a great d-man, having him locked for 6 years is a great start for any organization, knowing how tough it is to find a true #1 d-man.

Kudos to Jacques Martin.