Ryan Kesler will call Southern California home for many, many more years.
The Anaheim Ducks re-signed the 30-year-old center to a six-year, $41.25 million contract extension that will kick in for the 2016-17 season. There's a no-movement clause the first five years of the deal and a limited no-trade clause in the final year, per TSN's Darren Dreger.
This all comes in at $6.875 million per-year. The amount sounds about right for Kesler, who is a bit better than your average No. 2 center. But that’s a good amount of years for a guy who will turn 31 years of age before opening night this season.
And say goodbye to a big name on the summer of 2016 unrestricted free agent market.
Anaheim acquired Kesler from Vancouver as part of a package for Luca Sbisa and Nick Bonino last summer. They wanted him to be a type of jerk two-way second center who could push the Ducks past the second-round of the playoffs.
And he was a major contributor to the team with 13 points in 16 postseason games played for the group that lost in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final to the Chicago Blackhawks. He had 20 goals and 27 assists with Anaheim last season, and lost his sort of ‘lightning rod’ type status he had with the Canucks earlier in his career.
He didn’t have to worry about being booed on the road, and his home fans showing some level of scorn towards him as well ... (cough) Vancouver fans (cough).
Regardless, this was a deal that was going to get done. Kesler often fondly talked about how he wanted to stay in Anaheim. The Ducks never showed any signs of trepidation on trying to re-sign him. This is a team that was only one game from a Stanley Cup Final, and general manager Bob Murray has done his best to keep this group together (and happy) for the most part, so it could have another shot next season.
The down side? The Ducks have Kesler through 2022 and Corey Perry ($8.625 million per-year) and Ryan Getzlaf ($8.25 million per-year) locked up through 2021. All three are 30. Unless all three have Teemu Selanne's magical anti-aging powers, those will be some old dudes making big money.
In the short term, the issue for the Ducks may come next offseason when defensemen Simon Despres, Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen all hit restricted free agency. Vatanen is the highest-paid of the trio at $1.2625 million. No doubt they will all want large raises, especially Lindholm a budding star who is on the final year of his entry-level contract. Goaltenders John Gibson ($721,666) and Frederik Andersen ($1.15 million) are also being cheaply paid and will hit RFA next summer.
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