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Ryan Kesler, Ducks Agree to New Contract: Latest Details, Comments, Reaction

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIJuly 15, 2015

Anaheim Ducks' Ryan Kesler watches during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Calgary Flames, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

Ryan Kesler still had one year remaining on his contract with the Anaheim Ducks, but the team announced Wednesday that Kesler signed a six-year extension.  

Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register reported the fresh deal is worth $41.25 million. Kesler will make $5 million in 2015-16 before his lucrative contract extension takes effect, per Spotrac.com.

The Ducks provided comments from Kesler, who spoke about the deal:

Anaheim Ducks @AnaheimDucks

.@Ryan_Kesler: "Looking at some of the guys we picked up - I'm excited. We're close. Now, we have to go out there and do it."

Anaheim Ducks @AnaheimDucks

.@Ryan_Kesler: "This isn't my last contract. I want another one after this. Right now I'm sitting here saying, I won't be done.”

Anaheim Ducks @AnaheimDucks

.@Ryan_Kesler: "This group is not satisfied until we win a Cup. When we win, I don’t think we’ll be satisfied. We’re gonna want another."

Kesler also spoke about the way last season ended, via Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register and Elliott Teaford of the Los Angeles News Group.

I think we need a killer instinct in Game 6. We didn’t have it. ... We could sulk about it or we could learn from it.

[...]

It proved to me the owners want to win. They didn't have to prove it to me. ... The way the season ended left a sour taste...

The 30-year-old veteran logged 20 goals and 27 assists in his maiden season with the Ducks after spending the first 10 years of his NHL career with the Vancouver Canucks. He also had 13 points in 16 postseason contests.

Offense isn't where Kesler's value shines through the most, though. Anaheim got all it could have expected out of Kesler in 2014-15. His tremendous two-way play and tenacity on defense helped the Ducks beat out Kesler's former Vancouver club for the Pacific Division crown.

Kesler's contract is paid out entirely through base salary, per Chris Johnston of Sportsnet:

Chris Johnston @reporterchris

Ryan Kesler contract breakdown: $7.875M, $6.675M, $6.675M, $6.675M, $6.675M, $6.675M. Entirely paid in base salary.

Johnston weighed in on what Kesler's deal means for the Ducks' financial future:

Chris Johnston @reporterchris

So, in 2016-17, the #ducks will have $23.75M in cap space tied up in 30-something forwards Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler.

In April, Ducks general manager Bob Murray spoke about how Kesler embodies the team's identity, per the Los Angeles TimesLance Pugmire: "This team is not built to play talent- and skill-wise. It's a hard-nosed team. There's no other way to play the game. We have to play inside other team's nets, we have to get to the net, have to play hard hockey. Ryan Kesler does that—every night, he's a great example."

This extension ensures Anaheim will have a venerated on-ice enforcer for years to come—at least in theory.

Kesler has a rather reckless style of play. The physicality that defines his game may not be sustainable as he gets later into his contract. Some may be concerned that he won't be playing at a high level at the end of his contract. 

But the future is now in Anaheim. The Ducks have a deep team and pushed the eventual Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks to seven games in the conference final. They seem to be on the precipice of glory, and Kesler can be a prominent contributor to push Anaheim over the top.

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