Canucks’ Keith Ballard’s agent says buyout would be ‘good' for blueliner, give him ‘a fresh start’
Keith Ballard has two years remaining at $4.2 million a season on his contract and the Vancouver Canucks desperately have to shed some salary to get under a salary cap that is falling to $64.3 million next season. The 30-year-old Ballard would be eligible to receive two-thirds of the $8.4 million remaining on his contract, or $5.6 million. He would then become an unrestricted free agent.
Photograph by: Jeff Vinnick, NHLI via Getty Images
VANCOUVER — The agent for defenceman Keith Ballard has not heard from the Vancouver Canucks regarding a possible compliance buyout of his client.
"No, I haven't talked to them since the end of the season," Ben Hankinson, Ballard's Minnesota-based agent, said Wednesday. "So I have no insight on what they are going to do. Keith hasn't spoken to them and neither have I."
Some teams have begun notifying players of their intent to buy them out. Philadelphia Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren, for example, reportedly recently met with Daniel Briere and informed the veteran centre of the team's plan to buy out the remaining two years of his contract.
"My guess is they are going to push the trade front as hard as they can, probably up to the (June 30) draft, and see where that takes them," Hankinson said of the Canucks and Ballard.
Ballard has two years remaining at $4.2 million a season on his contract and the Canucks desperately have to shed some salary to get under a salary cap that is falling to $64.3 million next season from the present $70.2 million.
Hankinson does not think Ballard will have trouble finding work in the NHL if the Canucks do the expected and buy him out.
"It will be good for him if he does get bought out because he'll get a fresh start somewhere else," Hankinson said.
Under terms of the new collective bargaining agreement, teams have a total of two compliance buyouts that can be be used at the end of this season or after the 2013-14 season.
The buyout window this season begins 48 hours after the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Final and runs until July 4, the day before NHL free agency starts.
Depending on a player's age, he either receives one-third (if under age 26) or two-thirds (26 or over) of his remaining salary if he is bought out. Ballard, 30, would be eligible to receive two-thirds of the $8.4 million remaining on his contract, or $5.6 million. He would then become an unrestricted free agent.
There has been some speculation that the Canucks may also buy out winger David Booth. But Booth is still not fully recovered from ankle surgery he had in March and thus is not eligible for a buyout. Booth has two years, at $4.25 million a season, left on his contract.
HELP WANTED: One of the many things on the Canucks' to-do list this summer is staff the hockey operations department for their new AHL team in Utica, NY.
Former NHL goalie Robert Esche figures to be team president and in charge of business operations for the Utica Comets.
But the Canucks will run the hockey operations side of the business and that likely means hiring a general manager or promoting someone already on staff.
"We have not yet determined how the Comets' management team will be structured," said assistant general manager Laurence Gilman.
NO COMMENT: Gilman would not comment on talks the Canucks have had with defenceman Chris Tanev, who is a restricted free agent.
"It would be inappropriate for me to comment on the status of negotiations with Chris Tanev or any other player," Gilman said.
Besides Tanev, other Canuck notable RFAs include forwards Jordan Schroeder and Dale Weise.
Teams must make qualifying offers to their RFAs by July 2.
DON'T WORRY, BE HAPPY: Eddie Lack to his Twitter followers on the Canucks' signing of fellow Swedish goalie Joacim Eriksson: "My followers are freaking out cause Canucks signed another goalie. Don't worry guys competition is good! Hopefully we make each other better."
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun