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