Rangers coach Dale Hunter calls in Keith Ballard, Eric Staal to help with playoff push

The Rangers announced Thursday that defenseman Keith Ballard has been sent to the Columbus Blue Jackets for forward Eric Staals and defenseman Nicklas Backstrom.

He will be joining forward Scott Gomez and defenseman Mike Green as the Rangers’ trio of defensemen.

“It’s been a lot of hard work,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said in a statement.

He’s going to give us some solid depth along the defensive blue line.” “

I’m sure Keith will be excited to be back with the Rangers, and we’re excited to see him back on the ice.

He’s going to give us some solid depth along the defensive blue line.”

Ballard was drafted by the Rangers in the second round (56th overall) of the 2009 NHL Draft.

He has recorded seven points (2 goals, 3 assists) in 30 games for the Blue Jackets this season.