July 16, 2015

Michael Clifford

2015-07-16

Thoughts on Kesler, Oduya, Bournival, and why James Neal can rebound in fantasy next year. 

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There isn't anywhere else to start today's Ramblings than the contract that the Anaheim Ducks just gave Ryan Kesler. For those that may have missed, Kesler was signed to a six-year extension totalling $41.25-million, or an average annual value of $6.875M. They now have Kesler, Ryan Getzlaf, and Corey Perry all locked up through the 2020-2021 season.

The initial reaction I had, and I think a lot of people had gathering from what I read on Twitter was, "huh?" Everyone remembers Kesler's 40-goal several years ago, and that he did have back-to-back 70-point seasons. This is a player, however, who has failed to crack the 50 point mark in three straight 82-game seasons, and hasn't surpassed the 25-goal mark in five straight 82-game seasons.

It's not hard to see the logic of what Anaheim did here, though. This was a team that was one game away from a Stanley Cup Final appearance last year, and the team that beat them, Chicago, arguably got worse over the course of the offseason to date (welcome to cap hell, again). I have little doubt that management looks at this team and is thinking: with this group of players so close to a Cup Final, and the team that bounced us looking to be trending down, why break up this group? Why not keep the same players around, and try to make a run for a few years?