Ryan Kesler, a Selke winner in the 2010-2011 season, an Olympic Silver medalist, a Gold medalist in the World U18 championship for junior hockey, is now the proud owner of one of the worst contracts in the National Hockey League (Actually the Ducks are the proud owner). Ryan Kesler will be 31 by the season opener and will be signed through 2021-2022. Ryan Kessler will be 37 years old turning 38 when the deal expires.
Ryan Kesler will not be a good hockey player by the time his deal expires. Ryan Kesler will not be a Selke winner caliber player, and that’s assuming he still is, which is seriousley doubtful. Ryan Kesler will not be a top two center, and I doubt he will be at 35, much less 38.
However, Ryan Kesler will have a 6.875 million dollar cap hit according to Spotrac. The Anaheim Ducks will be heavily criticized and ridiculed for this signing. The one thing we can all know for certain is Ryan Kesler will be a very rich man.
But that’s enough about the future, lets talk about his highly mediocre current state. Kesler had 20 goals and 27 assists last year which combined for 47 points. Kessler is well known for being good defensively as he won the Selke, the award for best two way forward, but at the same time this was 5 years ago. In hockey, 5 years is very long time.
But back to Kesler, he hasn’t broken 50 points since 2010-2011 season, and hasn’t had a positive plus/minus since 2011-2012. The reason I am going to focus on his plus/minus is due some basic laws of hockey. If you don’t score, you can’t win and if you don’t play defense you can’t win. Your plus/minus is a reflection of if you out score, are out scored, or are even, when you are on the ice. A player wants to have a positive plus/minus because that means you are outscoring your opponent. If you have a negative plus/minus , that means you are being out scored. Now obviously plus/minus is affected by the team around you, but the Anaheim Ducks were a good team. They made it to the Western Conference Final . So you can let it slide that his plus/minus was bad in Vancouver last year, but in 2012-2013 the Canucks made the playoffs and he was still minus. Being minus is one of the worst things teams can see on your stat sheet, which makes the fact he’s getting 6.875 million dollars insane. You can do a lot of things with 6.875 million dollars, but I don’t recommend giving it to Ryan Kesler or any aging player, in decline, with a mediocre stat line.
Kesler is known for being good on the penalty kill, but according to NHL.com the Ducks penalty kill was 15th of 30. Now again its not all his fault, however, you would think a player getting as paid as much as him, a defensive specialist no less, should help more than that. Now I’m not going to say Kesler shouldn’t have gotten an extension, but it should have been more like 3 years and 18 million.
So someday Anaheim fans will boo him on the ice and we will have to remember 3 things. First, this is a business so a player will try and make as much money as possible. Second, it’s Anaheim Ducks’ general manager Bob Murray’s fault he is overpaid. But most importantly, remember this mistake, and learn from it not to overpay players by massive amounts just to keep said player.
So, while Bob Murray, the Ducks general manager, did get an extension done, it was a poor deal for the Ducks and the deal will ultimately hurt the franchise. Maybe next year he will help and the year after next, maybe even the next 3 years, but there will be a reckoning and the Ducks will pay the price of giving so much money.
(All player stats are provided by hockeydb.com, all contract info is courtesy of spotrac.com, and penalty kill rankings are from nhl.com)