The Kesler Signing
Tyler Dellow analyses the Canuck decision to give Ryan Kesler a 6 year $30 million dollar contract. While the comparison to Shawn Horcoff is enough to give any Canuck fan pause, Tyler view of the deal (and Mike Gillis) is generally favourable:
I’ve got my criticisms of Horcoff’s contract – the timing was kind of stupid – but, as I’ve talked about before, in the context of the market, it was a deal that you could understand when it was signed. The Kesler contract is similar, if better. He’s not going to be the steal that he has been in the past but I can see him being worth this deal and, if the PP goal scoring is real, exceeding it.
I’m biased, of course, but I think this is a great signing for Vancouver. While it is certainly expensive, good hockey players are expensive. While Tyler’s statistical comparisons are always interesting, Ryan Kesler is a much better player than his counting numbers, and his numbers are pretty damn good. I think it is hard to find a $5 MM hockey player who is a superior player.
Kesler is one of those guys who is always described as “one of the best two way players” in the NHL. I usually see that as damning with faint praise. Kesler is an outstanding defensive player – arguably the best defensive forward in the league – who also scores nearly a point a game. He’s a great defensive player because he is big, physical and relentless. His closing speed on the puck is astonishing. Canuck opponents seldom have the time to make a good play when he is on the ice.
I think Shawn Horcoff is a good player, one who is unfairly blamed for more than his share of the Oiler woes, but I don’t think he is nearly as good as Kesler. Neither are very many other $5 MM players. Brian Gionta or Scott Gomez? Mike Ribero? Joe Thornton? Alexei Kovalev?
I’ll take Kesler, thank you.
Postscript: I was surprised to see so many errors made in the media about the cap implications of the Kesler deal. The Canucks do not have $24 MM of cap space tied up in four players as was widely reported. After Kesler’s siging, the Canucks have 14 players under contract for next year with about $45 MM committed.
While every contract is choice about where the money is going, Vancouver is in relatively good shape, capwise.