In case you missed it, here's the skinny: yesterday, the Anaheim Ducks re-signed second line centre and local comedian Ryan Kesler to a six year deal worth $6.875 million per season. As you might expect, the response was positive:
Stunned by that Ryan Kesler contract. Six years at $6.875 M per? Great player, but how does his body hold up that long with his style?— Matt Larkin (@THNMattLarkin) July 15, 2015
To me, the most interesting thing about the Kesler deal is who's gonna captain that Las Vegas expansion team - him or Brooks Orpik?— Japers' Rink (@JapersRink) July 15, 2015
Well, after that Kesler deal I sure feel better about Anisimov's.— The Committed Indian (@RealFansProgram) July 15, 2015
That Ryan Kesler contract is insanity.— Travis Yost (@travisyost) July 15, 2015
If we look at minutes played, it's clear that Kesler is a player Anaheim leaned on heavily last season. As per the NHL's official site, he came second among Ducks forwards in ATOI at 19:30 min, third in PP ATOI at 2:32 min and first in SH ATOI at 2:12 min. You can add to that resume his being far-and-away Anaheim's leader in faceoffs, and reaching the 20 goal threshold for the seventh time in eight seasons despite a shooting percentage lower than his career average.
But playing a lot does not necessarily equal playing well. Kesler led a Ducks PK unit which was middle-of-the-pack at 15th, while all that power play time came on a special team ranked 28th in the league, or put another way, worse than Minnesota. And his 5v5 numbers are interesting to say the least.
For a team with oodles of cap space such as Anaheim, the $6.875 million per is easily stomachable, and to be honest it isn't even the scariest part of this deal. It's when you start thinking about Ryan Kesler's playing style and workload, coupled with how this contract will take him to the ripe old age of 37, that one becomes truly concerned. But if ever you needed evidence of Anaheim going for it while they believe their window will be open, here it is. I personally don't mind the idea of a nearly $7 million dollar, 35 year old Kesler patrolling their 3rd line in 2019-20, do you?
And now, the news.
Our frenemies at Mile High Sticking could only list three Avalanche players for whom 2015-16 provides a brighter future. The speculated response from Blake Comeau is "No comment." (MHS)
So is it unfair to say that the Dallas Stars received Patrick Sharp, Stephen Johns and Johnny Oduya in exchange for Trevor Daley and Ryan Garbutt? Also, I guess this puts Jamie Oleksiak back on the hot seat. (TSN)
Minnesota's Stadium Series alumni game roster will feature Dallas Stars legend Mike Modano. (Yahoo! Sports)
And that's Minnesota's 2015 1st round selection Joel Eriksson Ek now under contract, though he'll spend next year in Sweden. Looking at their NHL roster, they can afford a good deal of patience with him and others. (StarTribune)
Dirk Hoag has done yeoman's work again in his compilation of 2015-16 travel distances (among other things). The Winnipeg Jets are 9th highest and will travel 42,380 miles, or approximately 68,204 kilometers. For comparison's sake, the San Jose Sharks are 1st at 50,362 mi / 81,050 km, while Detroit are reaping the rewards of the East at 30th and 33,487 mi / 53,892 km total travel. (On The Forecheck)
Speaking of Nashville, the Perds' AHL affiliate in Milwaukee just unveiled their new jerseys and I have to admit, they're actually kind of awesome. Somebody please get Ottawa in touch with this designer, or any designer for that matter. (NHL)
The folks at Bleedin' Blue want Ken Appleby signed now, and I'm inclined to agree with them. (Bleedin' Blue)
And now, the moment you've all been waiting for: a Winnipeg Jets 2015 NHL Draft review. Though skip over Kyle Connor's segment if you don't want a reminder of how Winnipeg can be cold. (Hockey's Future)
And All The Rest
With the announced signing of both Philip Samuelsson and Brendan Shinnimin (and Mikkel Boedker prior), the Coyotes have now cleared their arbitration docket. (AZCentral)
Coming off of a fantastic year captaining Boston University, the summer of 2015 has been rough for prospect Matt Grzelcyk. Let's see how it ends up affecting both his 2015-16 season and any contractual future with the Bruins. (CSN New England)
Your daily Oliver Kylington watch continues, with news the Calgary Flames have inked him to an ELC. Though this still has yet to settle the matter of where he'll play next season. (Matchsticks & Gasoline)
Did anyone else completely miss when Columbus signed Gregory Campbell? (Yahoo! Sports)
Bruce McCurdy makes a salient point when he says the greater failing has been overexposing Justin Schultz due to a lack of quality around him. He's simply been too high on the depth chart. (Edmonton Journal)
In Lawson Crouse, the Panthers have yet another teenager lined up to have their baptism by fire. It's quite the combination of grizzled veterans and players under 25 down in Sunrise. (Miami Herald)
Our friends at Jewels From The Crown are taking solace in the fact that Andy Andreoff's new contract makes him an extremely inexpensive 14th forward. (JFTC)
There's a number of unproven-yet-interesting young players who will require waivers in 2015-16, and you can count newly signed Jarred Tinordi among them. (ProHockeyTalk)
There was a time I really liked Dylan McIlrath as a 1st round prospect. I've changed a fair bit over the years. (Blue Line Station)
Before writing Bobby Ryan off, let's wait and see what he looks like after a full season of Dave Cameron and without a career low shooting percentage. (SenShot)
Adam Burish could very well have "more good years of hockey ahead". But if by good he means effective, those years probably shouldn't be at the NHL level. (CSN Bay Area)
The stars are aligning for Nazem Kadri to take Toronto's cap space to the woodshed next season. (The Hockey News)
Remember how I mentioned there were a number of interesting waiver-eligible young players a few links ago? Add Frank Corrado to that list. (The Province)
Finally, Sidney Crosby, Nathan MacKinnon and Andrew MacDonald somehow managed to go nearly completely unnoticed at Acadian Fish & Chips. No word yet on any pending character assassination pieces centered around their indulgence of fried, battered goodness. (Chronicle Herald)
Thanks for reading! Be sure to say in the Comments below what you realistically would have given Kesler in terms of both cap hit and length.