The “Bull” is a nickname Ryan Kesler has had since joining the Canucks. Rarely is it used in conversation when talking about Kesler due to the fact that it is far from original, but it does have some meaning in terms of what is actually going on between the Canucks organization and Kesler’s agent. With both parties locking horns, it has left the Bull seeing red.
"I love it here, I really do," Kesler said. "But it's probably unrealistic to say I'm going to stay in the same spot forever.”
You see, contract negotiations between GM Mike Gillis and Ryan Kesler’s agent have come to a stand still, and won’t be brought up again until after the season is over, close to when Kesler becomes a restricted free agent. The Agent for Kesler, Kurt Overhardt, is quoted as saying "It's disappointing because based on the marketplace, it's not a difficult deal to get done for a core player like this. There's just not a lot of logic in waiting."
Maybe that’s spoken like an agent, but he does have a good point. Waiting until the end of the season could hurt the Canucks, as Kesler may not want to talk contract now until after he gets offers from other teams.
Kesler is more than just a second line center. Let’s look at the numbers. As of mid-March, Ryan Kesler has 64 points on the season. He is tied for points with Jerome Iginla, and only 2 points behind Ryan Geztlaf, 5 points behind Evgeni Malkin, and 6 points behind Alexander Semin. Granted he has played a handful more games than some of these players, but he has stayed healthy all season allowing the reliable center to be tied for 23rd overall in league scoring.
His 44 assists puts him in a tie for 15th in the league, 2 assists ahead of Sid the Kid and 3 ahead of Vincent Lecavalier.
So what is Ryan Kesler worth?
Well, Ryan and his agent are asking for around 5 million a season. He is currently making 1.75 million, a bargain for what he brings to the team, and I’m not just referring to the points. The Canucks are trying to get him to stay around 4 million a season, which is the same amount that Pavol Demitra is currently making. Keeping in mind that Iginla is making 7 million a season to put up the same points, 5 million doesn’t sound so bad.
Should we be worried? Kesler is from the Detroit area, and would love a chance to play at home. He also played for Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson for the Americans, who said prior to the Olympic break, "I really like the way Ryan Kesler plays the game. He's got great speed and I think you're seeing him start to hit stride and enter the early part of the prime of his career." Brian Burke also drafted this kid so it wouldn't surprise me if Toronto threw money at him this summer hoping Vancouver wouldn't match the offer. And let's not forget the Flyers offering Kesler 1.9 million the last time he was a restricted free agent forcing the Canucks to match.
So what will happen to this American born player? Maybe the 5 million dollar question is, are the Canucks willing to spend the money within their cap space.
For more information on talks between Kesler and his agent, and where I got my quotes from, follow the link below.