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Florida deals D Ballard to Vancouver

NHL.com @NHL

LOS ANGELES (AP) -The Florida Panthers have traded defenseman Keith Ballard to Vancouver in a four-player deal that included the Canucks' first-round pick.

New Florida general manager Dale Tallon sent Ballard and forward Victor Oreskovich to the Canucks for well-traveled forward Steve Bernier, Michael Grabner and the 25th overall pick in Friday's draft. Florida used the pick to select Moose Jaw center Quinton Howden.

Ballard scored 28 points last season for the Panthers, but is under contract for the next five years at $21 million. The Canucks hope he will fill the spot left by Willie Mitchell, who can become an unrestricted free agent next week.

The trade was the biggest involving active players during a fairly quiet first round at Staples Center.

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