Yesterday, we concentrated on former Panther heroes defenseman Rhett Warrener (217 games, four goals, 23 assists), and defenseman Jaroslav Spacek (158 games, 15 goals, 39 assists). In today's entry, we'll look at a defenseman from Minnesota and a Czech left winger.
To roll on with the show, follow the jump below.
32. Keith Ballard
Ballard was a 5'11" defenseman from Baudette, Minnesota. After a freshman season at the University of Minnesota (41 games, 10 goals, 13 assists), he was selected in the first round of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft by the Buffalo Sabres, 11th overall. He elected to stay with the Golden Gophers for two more seasons after his selection, totalling 23 goals and 54 assists in 97 games. While he was attending college, his rights were traded twice. First to the Colorado Avalanche for Steve Reinprecht during the 2003 offseason, then later to the Phoenix Coyotes with Derek Morris for Ossi Vaananen, Chris Gratton, and a second round pick (Peter Stastny) near the end of the 2003-04 season.
Ballard made his professional debut with the AHL Utah Grizzlies in 2004-05. He totalled two goals and 18 assists in 60 games, as the NHL season never got underway. He made his first NHL appearance the following season, spending three seasons with Phoenix (233 games, 19 goals, 68 assists).
Florida acquired Ballard after the 2007-08 season in a trade that also netted the Panthers Nick Boynton and a second round pick for Olli Jokinen. He scored six goals on 106 shots and enjoyed seven multi-point contests, including three assists in a 4-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks on October 24. Along with Jay Bouwmeester, he was the only Panther to appear in all 82 games, ranking second on the team with 22:23 ATOI (behind only first pairing mate Bouwmeester). He also led the blueline and finished fourth on the Panthers with 28 assists. His plus-14 rating was good for second on the team, and his 77 penalty minutes ranked third.
2008-09 would see Ballard again play in all 82 contests, going back to his time in Phoenix the fourth time in five seasons he accomplished the feat. He was one of four Panthers to do so. He scored eight goals on 90 shots along with 20 assists, finishing second on the blue line with 28 points. He logged three assists on two occasions, first in a 6-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres on November 18, then on January 16 in a 5-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. He averaged 22:24 TOI per game, and finished the season with a minus-7 rating and 88 PIM. After the season, the Panthers traded him to the Vancouver Canucks with Victor Oreskovich for Steve Bernier, Michael Grabner, and a first round draft pick (Quinton Howden).
2008-09: Ballard Highlights (via FloridaPanthersVideo)
Ballard spent the last two seasons in Vancouver, totalling three goals and 11 assists in 112 contests. He is currently halfway through a six-year, $25,200,000 contract.
All-Time Statline: Two seasons, 164 games, 14 goals, 48 assists, 62 points, plus-7 rating, 160 PIM, 11.5 APS.
31. Michael Frolik
Frolik, a 6'1" left winger from Kladno, Czechoslovkia, was playing with Kladno in the Czech League for two seasons (75 games, five goals, eight assists) when chosen in the first round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft by the Panthers, 10th overall. He opened the following season in the QMJHL with the Rimouski Oceanic, playing with the club for two seasons (97 games, 55 goals, 83 assists).
Frolik made his NHL debut with Florida in 2008-09, averaging 14:48 TOI through 79 Panthers games as a second and third liner. After going scoreless through his first 10 games, he logged his first NHL point, an assist in a 3-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks on November 9. He scored his first goal four games later, on November 20 in a 3-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils. He had 11 multi point games, including a goal and two assists on three occasions, including a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on January 27, a 5-2 win over the Ottawa Senators on March 31, and a 7-4 win over the Washington Capitals on April 11. He ranked third on the Panthers with 21 goals on 158 shots, with 24 assists, a team third best plus-10 rating, and only 22 penalty minutes.
2008-09: Frolik Highlights (via FloridaPanthersVideo)
In 2009-10, Frolik was one of four Panthers to play in all 82 contests, averaging 17:34 per game. On 219 shots on goal, he scored a team second best 21 times for the second season in a row. He also made 22 assists for a team third best 43 points. He scored more than one point on 12 occasions, including a goal and two assists on December 21 in a 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. He finished the season with a minus-4 rating and 43 minutes spent in the penalty box.
Frolik opened the 2010-11 season by playing in 52 games with the Panthers before getting traded to the Chicago Blackhawks with Alexander Salak for Jack Skille, Hugh Jessiman and David Pacan. In his last half-season with Florida, he scored eight goals on 158 shots, making 21 assists. He had a plus-2 rating and 16 PIM when traded.
Frolik scored three goals and six assists to close out the 2010-11 season in 28 games with the Hawks. He scored five times with 10 assists in 2011-12 with Chicago in 63 games. He will be entering the second year of a three-year, $7,000,000 contract when (and if) the season starts.
All-Time Statline: Three seasons, 213 games, 50 goals, 67 assists, 117 points, plus-8 rating, 81 PIM, 11.7 APS.
Thanks for reading today's entry. Make sure to check back tomorrow as we break the seal on the top 30 with another defenseman from Minnesota and a goaltender from Ontario.