Posted 25 March 2013 - 12:20 AM
Ballard has always been capable of offensive flashes, but he's been a liability more times than not in his own end. A lot of people say it's the coaching staff not using him right - and maybe it is. But good players find a way to capitalize on their chances and hasn't.
Personally, I feel much of it has to do with confidence, and each mistake he makes only piles on to his nerves. To that end - having him play forward is a bonus on a lot of fronts. Right now, because of injuries/illness - he's an asset to have at forward; he's fast, creative and understands the defensive end enough to be able to backcheck well. Furthermore, he's playing more. And without that noose around his neck that each mistake will bench him, his confidence can grow.
I don't know if it'll be longer term, but I think the more he plays up the better it'll be in the long run until there's a better option. Right now, the teams winning, and there's not many better options than that. So I'd ride it out and let him play up there, and if/when the team makes a move or callup that betters the team on the front end, hopefully the playing time will help him when he moves back to defense.
I also think that having a player that is on a forward line that can play D when needed (injury or penalty kills) is an asset you can ignore.
Regardless of the hate for the guy, fans just want the team to do well. Right now it's helping and we're winning. So ride it out until it doesn't, or hope it continues and helps this guy get his head back to where it was years ago in Pheonix when he looked like a potential stud.