There's only one really recent Ballard thread, but there have been plenty others over the last year and beyond that people have argued this in.
Ballard reclamation project?
(this one's from January this year, the rest are all last year)
What happened to Keith Ballard ?
What Should The Nucks Do About Ballard
Keith Ballard Is Worth $4.2 Million If He Gets Used...
What to do with Keith Ballard
The theme is all the same. At first, you see "AV hates Ballard, loves Rome", "Ballard would succeed in a top 4 role if only given the chance", "Ballard is used wrong", etc. Then you start to see evidence of how Ballard was given opportunity: when Salo went out and Ballard was put on Edler's right side, when Edler went out and Ballard was used there, Ballard was given time in the SCF. In all cases, Ballard failed to impress, didn't take advantage of the opportunity, and was shown up by others elevating their play (or at least playing responsibly in his place) when they were tried in those same roles.
People think AV hasn't given Ballard ample chance, when in fact he has. It was up to Ballard to make use of those opportunities, and he didn't. End of story.
Now, that doesn't mean he can't, or won't with other opportunities. That doesn't mean he won't find a home somewhere that will give him that opportunity. That doesn't mean he's no use anymore. That doesn't mean he couldn't be worth his salary, or at least close to it.
There's a resurgence in support for Ballard now that he's been playing well. He and Tanev have looked good, and it's not a mirage. They're driving possession and making plays, but they're also doing it in very selective minutes, facing the weakest competition of any of the Canucks D. AV is setting them up to succeed, and to play to their strengths, much like he has with giving the Sedins the most offensive starts of any forwards in the NHL last year, Malhotra the most defensive starts to take advantage of his faceoff ability, and how they showcased Cody Hodgson in the months leading up to his trade.
As far as Edler, he's a defenceman we've drafted, developed and just given a raise to. We have to see if he can step up since he's lined up as a part of our future. It's sink or swim with him, and he'll either learn or won't. If he doesn't it has far more impact on our future as a team than it does if Ballard fails.
Ballard was brought in to help fill out our defence, especially in the uncertainty of Mitchell leaving and whether or not we could get Hamhuis. He is a bonus if he works out, and we'll find ways to put him in positions to succeed if he doesn't at the higher levels. Unless he starts putting up 30-40 points again, he'll only ever be given limited chances and opportunities since he hasn't always been reliable defensively either.
Now, I'm not saying Ballard sucks. I like the guy, he's great in the locker room, a fantastic teammate, and fits well with Tanev to provide pretty good depth versus mots or the $1M D-men we could replace him with. But he isn't Edler, he doesn't have the draft day upbringing and top end potential Edler does, and he's likely to become a cap casualty as a result.
Hopefully we find a way to deal him to a team that can use him, since he deserves more than a buy out, and I know in the meantime he'll play his role and help us as much as he can.