Panthers lock up Ballard
Florida Panthers General Manager Jacques Martin announced today that the club has agreed to terms with D Keith Ballard on a six-year contract extension, beginning with the 2009-10 season. Ballard becomes the fifth Panthers player to sign for five or more years, joining D Bryan Allen, RW Nathan Horton, LW Rostislav Olesz and C
Stephen Weiss.>> team release
I've yet to see financials on the extension, but George Richards reasons that it's likely in the neighbourhood of $4-million a season and that makes sense. You wonder, however, where that puts a new deal for Jay Bouwmeester.
"Keith is a talented, puck moving defenseman, that plays a robust style, who will play a pivotal role on our team for many years to come," said Martin. "Since we acquired Keith at the draft this year, it has always been a top priority to reach a long term extension with him. We are very pleased to have reached this agreement prior to the start of training camp and we are confident that he will play a major role in the future success of the Florida Panthers organization."
UPDATE Richards informs me that Ballard's deal is for $4.2-million a season, or $25.2-million over the six years. It's steep, but they do lock him up until 2014-15.