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Canucks Power Rankings, Disappointment: Keith Ballard

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Old
01-18-2011, 07:16 AM
  #26
Hammer79
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I haven't been all that thrilled with him so far, tbh. Ballard lays some big checks and blocks shots, but I'm starting to come to the conclusion that it's either one of two things with him, he is either;
A, in relatively poor shape for a pro athlete after off-season surgery recovery and not getting to proper positions, or
B, being a 'smart' player isn't exactly his style, or
C, He's having a tough adjustment to the western conference like Alberts was last season.

We'll see this post season though, as I don't expect to see him get traded this year anyway.

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Old
01-18-2011, 09:12 AM
  #27
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Hart: Kesler
Selke: Kesler
Calder: Kesler
Norris: Kesler
Veznia: Kesler
Jack Adams: Kesler

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Old
01-18-2011, 09:17 AM
  #28
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Ballard hasn't been a disapointment.

It's been disapointing how poorly he's been used all season. Ballard should be given more opportunity especially on the 2nd unit. Like c'mon, our 2nd unit is TRASH.. Why don't we try to do something to fix it before playoffs?

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Old
01-18-2011, 10:33 AM
  #29
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If you had to pick a disappointment, I guess Ballard fits the bill...although really, I haven't been very disappointed with anyone this year. I think it's more of a pleasant surprise at just how damn good Bieksa has been rather than Ballard being disappointing. We knew a top-four calibre D-Man would be on the bottom pair, and Ballard happens to be it.

As for the other awards, I'd go with...

Hart - Kesler/Daniel
Selke - Kesler/Malhotra
Calder - Schneider
Norris - Edler
Vezina - Luongo

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Old
01-18-2011, 11:04 AM
  #30
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Hart - Kesler/Daniel
Selke - Kesler/Malhotra
Calder - Schneider
Norris - Edler
Vezina - Luongo
Unsung Hero - Hansen

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Old
01-18-2011, 11:16 AM
  #31
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I generally try and see the bright side but you can't sugar coat Samuelsson's play. I think his point production is flattering to his overall game this year. It's like he's playing his own game out there sometimes. He's usually trying to force passes through traffic instead of just chipping it down low for a battle. He needs to get his head straight and start making some low risk plays. He's stands out as one of the worst culprits when it comes to turn overs.

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Old
01-18-2011, 11:45 AM
  #32
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Originally Posted by Mr. Canucklehead View Post
As for the other awards, I'd go with...

Hart - Kesler/Daniel
Selke - Kesler/Malhotra
Calder - Kesler/Schneider
Norris - Kesler/Edler
Vezina - Kesler/Luongo
fixed!

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Old
01-18-2011, 11:55 AM
  #33
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Breakthrough is obviously Hansen

Disappointment is Raymond - was expecting him to progress but has regressed somewhat (due to injury most likely but don't think he would have progressed if not injured, IMO)

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Old
01-18-2011, 02:45 PM
  #34
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Biggest disappointment with Ballard continues to be how he's used.

When he's actually been given icetime, he's been very good - +7 in 10 games where he was over 17 minutes of playing time. The one brief stretch where he got 20+ minutes for 3-4 games, he looked great.

He has a better PP pedigree than Hamhuis does, but has received pretty much 0 PP time while Hamhuis has been an (ineffective) stalwart on the #2 unit.

Sees nothing but 3rd-pairing icetime with Alberts/Rome. Whenever Rome is in the lineup, Ballard inexplicably plays less than Rome.

I've never seen a player set up to fail the way Ballard has been with this club right from the first game of the preseason. To his credit, he's handled it with nothing but class.

___________

Biggest disappointment so far has been Samuelsson.

Started the season as an absolute disaster in October, played better for about 20 games through November and early December, but has been ghastly again since Christmas.

Has been one of our poorest forwards defensively, making awful decisions with the puck, has been less involved physically than last season, and his production has basically just been a function of the excellence of the Sedins and Kesler.

Has been the worst player on the team since Christmas. Tambellini is struggling offensively, but the effort is there and he's still doing little things to help the team. Samuelsson is not. 0-1-1 in his last 11 games with loads of icetime while contributing nothing physically or defensively.

It's been amazing how poor he's been after being so outstanding through the last month of the regular season last year and in the playoffs.

Bloody Amen. There is no justification for how Ballard gets 14 minutes of ice whereas Bieksa gets 28. Yes Bieksa is playing perhaps the best hockey of his career but that discrepancy is incredible.

Ballard has looked great when called upon to play significant minutes.

Unless they are juicing Bieksa's stats/ice for a trade, it's hard to fathom why this is happening.

And yes, Ballard has been the consummate teammate thusfar, and has been remarkably modest. Even his remarks on his fight show how little of an ego this guy has.


Sammy on the other hand has struggled all year as he's effectively avoided rough areas of the ice and isn't skating nearly as well as he was last year. It could be a veteran thing though - saving himself for the playoffs.

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Old
01-18-2011, 03:24 PM
  #35
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I'm fine with Bieksa's minutes right now. He's proven in the last two months to be either the best or second best defenseman just about every game. Early in the year I thought Bieksa was playing poorly and was getting too many minutes, but the way he's rounded into form leaves no doubt in my mind that the minutes are being distributed fine right now.

My feelings on Ballard aren't that he's a disappointment, either. There was always going to be one "Top 4" guy on the bottom pair, and odds were whoever it was would struggle. It's hard to play 30% less minutes than you're used to and still feel the rhythm of the game. In Ballard's case, he's been decent to good for most of the past few months (with a few lapses), and played great when called on for extra minutes. Is this not exactly what everyone crowing about depth was looking for last summer? I think it's remarkable that everyone wanted depth and now so many want to trade it away to make more cap space. Crazy.

Gillis will have to make some tough calls with his UFA defensemen this spring/summer when he finds out what kind of money they're looking for. In the mean time, I'm enjoying the depth.

Note: my one complaint would be that I would like to see Ballard on the 2nd PP to see if he would be a useful player there. I also don't like how the defense has been handled when Rome/Ballard were injured. With how tired the team has looked lately, the last thing the top guys need is another 5 minutes a night that Ballard could easily provide playing 22-24 minutes. Edler looks like he has an absolutely empty gas tank the last week.

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Old
01-18-2011, 04:46 PM
  #36
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There have been bigger disappointments than Ballard but there seems little way that he has lived up to his 4.2 price tag. That has be to factor in terms of Ballard's evaluation just like it is with every other player.

As far as AV use of Ballard it is appropriate. He has been our 5th or 6th defenseman in terms of play and he is getting that kind of time.

The biq question with Ballard is whether you can carry a 4.2 defenseman who is not solidly in your 4. Given the cap that may be a luxury you just can't afford without hurting your team too much elsewhere.

At the moment the Canucks, in terms of other contenders, are spending a premium on their goaltending and their defense. This creates difficulties in the getting the top 6 player they need and the help on the 4th line. I think you have to ask yourself whether we need a better balance and need to look at spending less on defense and more elsewhere.

If so then Ballard's salary becomes an issue. That might even be so if Ballard was playing great but was still 5th on the depth chart. It especially becomes an issue if you believe Ballard is not living up to the 4.2 he is getting.

I think the writer's point is that Ballard's signing was a major signing and, to this point, this trade has not had the positive impact that a major investment, in term so both the players given up and in terms of the salary hit taken, might have been expected to have.

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Old
01-18-2011, 05:18 PM
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orcatown View Post
There have been bigger disappointments than Ballard but there seems little way that he has lived up to his 4.2 price tag. That has be to factor in terms of Ballard's evaluation just like it is with every other player.

As far as AV use of Ballard it is appropriate. He has been our 5th or 6th defenseman in terms of play and he is getting that kind of time.

The biq question with Ballard is whether you can carry a 4.2 defenseman who is not solidly in your 4. Given the cap that may be a luxury you just can't afford without hurting your team too much elsewhere.

At the moment the Canucks, in terms of other contenders, are spending a premium on their goaltending and their defense. This creates difficulties in the getting the top 6 player they need and the help on the 4th line. I think you have to ask yourself whether we need a better balance and need to look at spending less on defense and more elsewhere.

If so then Ballard's salary becomes an issue. That might even be so if Ballard was playing great but was still 5th on the depth chart. It especially becomes an issue if you believe Ballard is not living up to the 4.2 he is getting.

I think the writer's point is that Ballard's signing was a major signing and, to this point, this trade has not had the positive impact that a major investment, in term so both the players given up and in terms of the salary hit taken, might have been expected to have.
I think Ballard has played well enough given his limited role to not warrant being labeled as a disappointment. He's not been airtight but he's also not a turnover machine or inept positionally by any means. I like his willingness to sacrifice his body and he seems like a good guy.

That said, I think he's in the mix with Bieksa and Salo as to who may be the odd man out. The fact that he came here through a trade and not a FA signing makes me think Gillis would move him if the circumstances were favorable. I think they're trying to weigh if re-signing Bieksa will be a better deal than Ballard at 4.2. A few months ago I would have said no way but now it's a tough call.

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Old
01-18-2011, 05:28 PM
  #38
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I agree with most of it, except I think breakthrough should've gone to Kesler as well or even Edler or Bieksa. It's Samuelsson I'm dissapointed
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Originally Posted by parabola View Post
Yeah I agree actually... Definitely Samuelsson.
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I'm disappointed that Ballard hasn't gotten a chance on the PP or to get a bigger role on the team. Samuelsson has been a bigger disappointment overall.
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Originally Posted by Balls Mahoney View Post
I've been very pleased with Ballard's game. Samuelsson on the other hand...
I find it funny that last year he's on pace for .60PPG and this year he's .57PPG as someone mentioned, and the fact that he has a HIGHER +/- than last year versus this year but not a single person complained about his "lack of defensive play" then.

People are pissy that he won't outscore malkin, zetterberg, datsyuk, kessel, toews, and kane again...

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Old
01-18-2011, 05:30 PM
  #39
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I'm pissy when anyone regresses.

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01-18-2011, 05:31 PM
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Hey at least Ballard isn't Brian Campbell.

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Old
01-18-2011, 05:35 PM
  #41
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At the moment the Canucks, in terms of other contenders, are spending a premium on their goaltending and their defense. This creates difficulties in the getting the top 6 player they need and the help on the 4th line. I think you have to ask yourself whether we need a better balance and need to look at spending less on defense and more elsewhere.
Look around the league at the top teams and they all have one thing in common - excellent and expensive bluelines. You simply aren't going to ice an elite team with anything less than an excellent defense IMO.

This is the deepest, most skilled, mobile blueline in Canuck history - it's also the best regular season team we've probably ever seen in Vancouver. That's not a coincidence.

What other contenders are you refering to that aren't investing big dollars in their backend?

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Old
01-18-2011, 06:03 PM
  #42
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There have been bigger disappointments than Ballard but there seems little way that he has lived up to his 4.2 price tag. That has be to factor in terms of Ballard's evaluation just like it is with every other player.

As far as AV use of Ballard it is appropriate. He has been our 5th or 6th defenseman in terms of play and he is getting that kind of time.

The biq question with Ballard is whether you can carry a 4.2 defenseman who is not solidly in your 4. Given the cap that may be a luxury you just can't afford without hurting your team too much elsewhere.

At the moment the Canucks, in terms of other contenders, are spending a premium on their goaltending and their defense. This creates difficulties in the getting the top 6 player they need and the help on the 4th line. I think you have to ask yourself whether we need a better balance and need to look at spending less on defense and more elsewhere.

If so then Ballard's salary becomes an issue. That might even be so if Ballard was playing great but was still 5th on the depth chart. It especially becomes an issue if you believe Ballard is not living up to the 4.2 he is getting.

I think the writer's point is that Ballard's signing was a major signing and, to this point, this trade has not had the positive impact that a major investment, in term so both the players given up and in terms of the salary hit taken, might have been expected to have.
Here's another way to look at it. Ballard plays 16 minutes a night right now, which for a forward would be a lot of ice time. He has the demonstrated ability to play a very capable 22 minutes a night if injuries become an issue -- and all it would take is one injury for that to become an issue. 22 minutes a night is Sidney Crobsy time for a forward.

Of course it seems like a wealth of depth when the Canucks haven't suffered any in-season injuries to their top 4, but we'd be one injury away from being right back where we were before. Depth on defense is paramount to a team's success. You simply can't cover up injuries the way you can with forwards.

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Old
01-18-2011, 06:11 PM
  #43
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disappointment for me this year is Raymond. Injury or not, his play style seems to be regressing.

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Old
01-18-2011, 06:27 PM
  #44
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Ballards bad play has been masked by the overall good play of the defence. That fight with Kobasew is a glimps into the amount of hockey sense the guy has. All tools no toolbox. There is a reason the guy is being given limited minutes. I'd like to see him play on the second unit PP to try and build his confidence but he hasn't earned more icetime. I think the Canucks knew what they were getting much like when they traded for Alberts. At this point I think they believe, and rightfully so, that they can get the best out of the guys they bring in. It might take some time but they'll make a player out of him.

Disappointment is directly related to expectation so it's going to vary between individuals. For me it's Malhotra. He shuts our offense down as much as he does the other teams. The signing had to happen because of the glaring hole there and he does contribute, but I was convinced by some of you that he had offensive upside so it's disappointing that the play dies evertime it hits his stick.

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Old
01-18-2011, 07:35 PM
  #45
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Originally Posted by Drop the Sopel View Post
Look around the league at the top teams and they all have one thing in common - excellent and expensive bluelines. You simply aren't going to ice an elite team with anything less than an excellent defense IMO.



This is the deepest, most skilled, mobile blueline in Canuck history - it's also the best regular season team we've probably ever seen in Vancouver. That's not a coincidence.

What other contenders are you refering to that aren't investing big dollars in their backend?
Kind of rewording what I said - I said the Canucks are spending a premium on their goal-tending and their defense. Arguing about only defense is a different argument. I would say if you are going to pay a premium for a goaltender, and defense on top of that, then you have to take a hit elsewhere. My argument about Ballard's salary as my post makes clear must include recognition that we are already paying a lot for the combination of goaltending and defense and thus Ballard's salary (especially if he isn't playing up to it) become more problematic.

You look at the figures for other teams this is borne out. If you include the top 7 defense man + 2 top goaltenders for teams that most consider contenders you get the following rounded off figures. Also the greater cap space created in terms of the Canucks is included. (Figures done quickly so might check them)

Vancouver - 27.6 (and that does not include Salo)

Pittsburg - 24.6 ( creates 3 mill in cap space)

Philadelphia - 26.7 (approx mill in space)

Detroit - 23.9 (approx. 3.5 in cap)

Dallas - 14. 9 (almost 13 mill in space)

Washington - 21.2 (over 6 mill in space)

L. A. - 17.8 (about 10 in space)

Boston - 23.9 ( around 4 mill in space)

Tampa Bay - 20.3 (7+ in space)

Chicago - 23.3 (over 4 mill in space)

I would say if you look at the space created other contenders have more opportunity to spend on the forward position and that the Canuck spending on defense and goal tending does restrict (I think clearly) their ability to improve the forward position.

This again is why Ballard and his contract become a consideration. He may be a nice piece but he may also be an expensive luxury the Canucks can't afford if they intend to get help both in the near term and the long term at the forward position. If you look at the above figures the difference b/w Ballard's salary and most 5 or 6 players is approximately the difference between the amount the Canucks are paying for their goaltending and defense, and that being paid by other contenders (other than Philly)

For example, if Salo comes back and plays like he can we could have defense of

Hamhuis Bieksa

Edler Ehrhoff

Salo Alberts

That means that Ballard could be moved and the difference b/w his contract and Salo's could be used to get much needed help up front for the playoffs.

Moreover, not having Ballard's salary next year opens up the kind of cap space you need to get back Bieksa and Ehrhoff. You could then also try to obtain (or use one of the prospects) to get a more appropriately priced 5th or 6th defenseman.

To me Ballard's contract is an issue both in the short term and the long term.

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01-18-2011, 07:43 PM
  #46
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I've rarely noticed this year ballard making a huge mistake that costs us a goal.

and out of our 6 dmen, I think he easily has the best tape-to-tape breakout passes. He's smooth skating and passes nice and hard. Im not sure the stats but he also blocks a lot of shots


the only knocks on him I can think of is I would like to see him play more physical, and that he gets almost no ice time...and the ladder isn't even his fault

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01-18-2011, 09:30 PM
  #47
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I'm pretty sure it went something like this:

"Okay who's leading in points? Daniel - Hart. Done. Okay who has the most icetime and points on defense? Edler - Norris. Done. Their back up has been pretty good, and he's a rookie. Schneider - Calder. Done. Kesler was a Selke runner up. Done. Who is on pace for more points than last year? Tambellini - Breakthrough. Done. Ballard was benched for awhile. Ballard - Disappointment. Done. "
Is there really anything wrong with that method?

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Old
01-19-2011, 12:23 AM
  #48
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There isn't much logic in criticizing Ballard unless he was given top 4 minutes and a top 4 partner for much of the season - pair him with Edler and he's probably +10 or more - which he wasn't. He was even benched for a few games. In other words, nobody can sit here and argue that he was given every chance to succeed.

That being said, there's too much tied up in the D cap and its unhealthy. Right now, its potentially preventing the team from re-activating Salo (we don't know for sure) and I believe, team is not recalling players with higher cap hits than they otherwise would. Next year, it will affect the team's ability to sign an elite winger to play with Kesler (if that's the team's wish).

So this is not about Ballard, its about the team can at most afford to have 5 top 4 dmen and right now we have 6. Something has to give. The choices are:

#1 leave Salo on LTIR

#2 trade one of the dmen (eg. ballard) which implies of course that Salo>traded dman which the experts (bowman, AV, Bowness) agree with. The injury prone argument is weak - it overestimates that Salo will get injured and underestimates that others will not - only who can predict the future knows.

#3 Fit Salo in by cutting the rest of the roster to the bone.

After the play tonight by the call-ups and recent injuries, # 3 is clearly a bad choice, a failure to make a decision, any decision.

#2 seems to be the best choice short-term and long-term as leaving Salo on LTIR does nothing for next year's issue (while moving a dman does) + he's our best dman.

Then the question is which dman do you trade, with which team do you do a deal and what do you get in return? Whew, I'm glad I'm only a poster.

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01-19-2011, 12:46 AM
  #49
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Kind of rewording what I said - I said the Canucks are spending a premium on their goal-tending and their defense. Arguing about only defense is a different argument. I would say if you are going to pay a premium for a goaltender, and defense on top of that, then you have to take a hit elsewhere. My argument about Ballard's salary as my post makes clear must include recognition that we are already paying a lot for the combination of goaltending and defense and thus Ballard's salary (especially if he isn't playing up to it) become more problematic.
Yeah, you take the hit on the wings. The Canucks have invested the Lion's share of money at cente ice, on defense and in goal - the 3 most crucial areas of a hockey team...

Every club you listed had cap space to use up front but they also couldn't match the Canucks numbers at both ends of the ice. Hard to argue with those results - especially in a year where the Canucks have finally invested a ton of money in their backend.

If the salary outlook was different heading into next year I would agree with what you're saying - however the Canucks have more than enough cap space to retain all the current core players as well as dip into the free agent market to find upgrades where needed.

If Alain Vigneault never gets around to using Ballard for more than 13-14 minutes a night than I guess you have to move him. I just have a feeling the coach will figure this out by year's end.

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Old
01-19-2011, 01:16 AM
  #50
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Biggest disappointment with Ballard continues to be how he's used.

When he's actually been given icetime, he's been very good - +7 in 10 games where he was over 17 minutes of playing time. The one brief stretch where he got 20+ minutes for 3-4 games, he looked great.

He has a better PP pedigree than Hamhuis does, but has received pretty much 0 PP time while Hamhuis has been an (ineffective) stalwart on the #2 unit.

Sees nothing but 3rd-pairing icetime with Alberts/Rome. Whenever Rome is in the lineup, Ballard inexplicably plays less than Rome.

I've never seen a player set up to fail the way Ballard has been with this club right from the first game of the preseason. To his credit, he's handled it with nothing but class.

___________

Biggest disappointment so far has been Samuelsson.

Started the season as an absolute disaster in October, played better for about 20 games through November and early December, but has been ghastly again since Christmas.

Has been one of our poorest forwards defensively, making awful decisions with the puck, has been less involved physically than last season, and his production has basically just been a function of the excellence of the Sedins and Kesler.

Has been the worst player on the team since Christmas. Tambellini is struggling offensively, but the effort is there and he's still doing little things to help the team. Samuelsson is not. 0-1-1 in his last 11 games with loads of icetime while contributing nothing physically or defensively.

It's been amazing how poor he's been after being so outstanding through the last month of the regular season last year and in the playoffs.
well said.


the discussion of whether or not the Canucks can afford to roll with 6 highly paid top-4 calibre d-men is quite valid though. at the very least, you have to wonder if it would be possible to move Ballard and his 4.2M for a slightly cheaper top-4 d-man elsewhere. if they could shave enough salary off (say a guy making ~$1.5M less), it might be worth bringing in a slight downgrade at the #5 position who could still play top-4 minutes if needed, while simultaneously allowing them to bring Salo back (thus adding another top-4). but if you're talking long-term (ie. beyond just this season) then you have to think keeping Ballard around is the probably the better move for next year and beyond.

i don't really see Gillis trying to move Ballard right away though, this quickly. and after this season, i don't see why they wouldn't be plenty happy to keep him and his salary around. although there is that sense that perhaps Ballard was just the 'insurance policy' in the event Hamhuis didn't sign here...and could be moved given the way things have panned out.

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