Wild land defenseman Ballard, to lose center Cullen to free agency


The Wild announced Thursday they agreed to terms on a two-year contract with defenseman Keith Ballard, the Associated Press reports, and center Matt Cullen is joining free agency.

The Star Tribune reports that Ballard, a Baudette native and former University of Minnesota star, has agreed to terms with the hometown Wild. Ballard, 30, was bought out of the final two years of his contract by the Vancouver Canucks, and now has a two-year, $3 million deal with Minnesota.

Ballard had a productive career early on, but as the AP notes, Ballard has been plagued by several injuries. He managed just two assists in 36 games for Vancouver in 2013. Over three seasons there since being acquired in a draft-day trade in 2010 with Florida, Ballard had only 16 points in 148 games.

Cullen, the former Moorhead High standout and St. Cloud State Huskies center, never got an offer from the Wild, according to the Strib.

Cullen has scored 202 goals and 562 points in 1,073 games in 15 seasons with Anaheim, Florida, Carolina, the Rangers, Ottawa and Minnesota, according to the AP.

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