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by Staff Writer / Arizona Coyotes
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Phoenix Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney announced that the Coyotes have re-signed defenseman Keith Ballard () to a two-year contract. As per club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Keith Ballard / Photo Credit: Norm Hall
“We are very pleased to have signed Keith Ballard to a new contract,” said Maloney. “Keith has a great work ethic, plays hard and has a tremendous upside. We are excited to have him in our organization.”

Ballard, 24, registered 5 goals and 22 assists for 27 points as well as 59 penalty minutes (PIM) in  69 games with the Coyotes last season. He ranked 2nd among Coyotes’ defensemen in assists and points.  The 5-foot-11, 208-pound defenseman also finished 2nd on the Coyotes overall in both hits (130) and blocked shots (135) and ranked 3rd on the team in time on ice per game (21:59).  Ballard received the Coyotes’ Hardest Working Player Award for the second consecutive season as voted upon by fans.

In his first NHL season of 2005-06, Ballard collected 8 goals, 31 assists, 39 points and 99 PIM while playing in all 82 games. The Baudette, Minnesota native ranked 2nd among  NHL rookies in assists and T-2nd points.  Ballard also led all rookies in penalty minutes and shorthanded goals (3).

Following last season, Ballard represented Team USA at the 2007 World Championships in Moscow and recorded 3 assists and 16 PIM in 7 games.  He also helped lead USA to a bronze medal at the 2004 World Championships when he was the only NCAA player on the squad.

Prior to joining the professional ranks, Ballard played three seasons at the University of Minnesota (WCHA) and twice helped lead the Golden Gophers to the NCAA Championship (2002, 2003).  Ballard was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award in 2004 and earned WCHA First All-Star Team honors in both 2003 and 2004. 

The Coyotes acquired Ballard from Colorado with Derek Morris for Chris Gratton, Ossi Vaananen and a 2nd round choice in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft on Mar. 9, 2004.  Ballard was originally drafted by the Buffalo Sabres (1st round, 11th overall) in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.
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