Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 7/4/13
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild sure know how to celebrate the Fourth of July. After signing the two biggest free agents on the market, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, last year on July 4, Minnesota added former University of Minnesota defenseman Keith Ballard on Thursday, according to the team's Twitter account. Ballard and the Wild agreed to terms on a two-year contract. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported the deal is worth 3 million for Ballard, who was a compliance buyout by the Vancouver Canucks this week. Ballard, 30, is from Baudette, Minn., and starred with the Gophers, where he won two National Championships. Ballard has 36 goals and 129 assists in 165 career NHL games with Vancouver, Phoenix and Florida. He was a first-round draft choice, No. 11 overall, in 2002 by the Buffalo Sabres. "Congrats to Keith Ballard and MN Wild agreeing to 2yr deal," Ballard's agent, Ben Hankinson, wrote on his Twitter page Thursday. "Keith will be great fit. Bally now get out and enjoy the rest of July 4th!" Hankinson tweeted that Ballard was called by Minnesota general manager Chuck Fletcher, coach Mike Yeo and Parise as part of the sales pitch to come back to return to his roots. The Wild had a need for defensive help after making Bloomington, Minn., native Tom Gilbert a buyout casualty on Thursday. In the new collective bargaining agreement, each team is allowed two compliance buyouts over the next two years to account for the decreasing salary cap. Ballard signed a six-year, 25.2 million contract with Florida in 2009 and was traded a year later to the Canucks. But Ballard, who had scored eight goals and had 20 assists a year earlier with Florida, never got on track with Vancouver. He had three goals and 13 assists in 148 games over the past three seasons with the Canucks. Ballard went without a goal and had just two assists last season in 36 games. Ballard averaged 6.6 goals and 23.2 assists per season his first five years in the league with Phoenix and Florida. Minnesota and Ballard agreed to the terms, but the signing won't become official until Friday, when the NHL free-agency period begins at 11 a.m. Central. Last year the Wild signed Parise and Suter to those franchise-altering 13-year, 98 million contracts on the Fourth of July, ending an intense bidding process for the two coveted free agents. With Parise and Suter leading the way, Minnesota snapped a four-year playoff drought last season. Follow Brian Hall on Twitter
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Luke Maye sends North Carolina to the Final Four with game-winning shot

Singer Darius Rucker cries as South Carolina clinches Final Four berth

Rockets take shot at Westbrook's MVP candidacy

New info shows just how much Las Vegas wants Raiders

Tomlin: Steelers are preparing for Roethlisberger's retirement

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Bills reporter: 'Only a matter of time' before GM Whaley is fired

Report: Patriots, Revis have not discussed possible reunion

Video of LaVar Ball playing basketball surfaces and he doesn't look great

Reporter: Giants 'would not go near' Adrian Peterson

Report: Browns unlikely to give Josh Gordon another chance

Popovich: Owners interfering with player rest is risky

Best of Yardbarker: Did Team USA's victory save the World Baseball Classic?

The Rewind: George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four

Breaking down the Naismith Award race

Box Score 3/24: Waiting on West Virginia

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

With Team USA's victory, World Baseball Classic (finally) lived up to its potential

The NFL distraction playbook

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

Box Score 3/23: Team USA wins their first WBC title

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Did Team USA's victory save the World Baseball Classic?

The Rewind: George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four

Breaking down the Naismith Award race

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

The NFL distraction playbook

With Team USA's victory the WBC (finally) lived up to its potential

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker