The Phoenix Coyotes re-signed young defenceman Keith Ballard to atwo-year agreement,the club announced on Wednesday.

"We are very pleased to have signed Keith Ballard to a new contract," said Phoenix general manager Don Maloney. "Keith has a great work ethic, plays hard and has a tremendous up side. We are excited to have him in our organization."

The Baudette, Minn., native had five goals and 22 assists in 69 games for Phoenix last season, his second in the league. He missed time with a hip injury after playing in all 82 games in his rookie season.

Ballard has played all 151 of his career games with the Coyotes, but was actually the property of two other clubs before even making it to the NHL.

Chosen 11th overall in the NHL entry draft by Buffalo, the Sabres traded him to Colorado a year later. The Avalanche sent him to Phoenix in 2005, along with Derek Morris, for Chris Gratton, Ossi Vaananen and a draft pick.

As aUniversity of Minnesota player, Ballard was finalist in 2004 for the Hobey Baker Award, given to the best collegiate hockey player in the U.S.

The 24-year-old has represented the U.S. at the world championships this year and in 2004, when the country won bronze.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Ballard earned $900,000 US last season.