Kesler agrees to six-year, $41.25 mil­lion con­tract ex­ten­sion with Ducks

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS -

Cen­tre Ryan Kesler got com­fort­able quickly with the Ana­heim Ducks, and the club let him know the feel­ing is def­i­nitely mu­tual.

The vet­eran cen­tre agreed to a six-year, US$41.25 mil­lion con­tract ex­ten­sion with the Ducks on Wed­nes­day, ce­ment­ing a long-term com­mit­ment af­ter just one sea­son to­gether.

“I def­i­nitely feel a part of the core group now,” Kesler said. “They wanted me, and I wanted to stay.”

Kesler had 20 goals, 27 as­sists and 75 penalty min­utes last year in Ana­heim af­ter spend­ing his first nine NHL sea­sons with the Van­cou­ver Canucks. The hard­nosed U.S. Olympian filled a key role as the Ducks’ sec­ond-line cen­tre while match­ing up de­fen­sively against many teams’ top scor­ers.

Kesler also had seven goals and six as­sists in a stand­out play­off ef­fort as the three-time Pa­cific Di­vi­sion cham­pion Ducks fell one game short of the Stan­ley Cup Fi­nal, los­ing to Chicago in the Western Con­fer­ence fi­nals.

“That dress­ing room is so close, and we hold our­selves to the high­est stan­dard,” Kesler said. “That group is not sat­is­fied un­til we win a Stan­ley Cup. When we do win that Stan­ley Cup, I don’t think we’ll be sat­is­fied then, ei­ther.

“We’re go­ing to want another one. We have the group to do it. We have all the pieces.

“We just need to put them to­gether. We were one game away from go­ing to the fi­nal, and that ex­pe­ri­ence will help us next year.”

Kesler has one year left on his cur­rent con­tract. His new deal has an av­er­age an­nual value of $6.875 mil­lion and ex­tends through the 2021-22 sea­son, when he will be 37 years old – not that he’s count­ing.

“This isn’t my last con­tract,” Kesler said. “I want another one af­ter this. Right now, I’m sit­ting here say­ing I won’t be done (in 2022). My fam­ily sup­ports that, and they know.”

AP PHOTO

This April 11 file photo shows Ana­heim Ducks’ Ryan Kesler skat­ing to the puck against the Ari­zona Coy­otes dur­ing the first pe­riod of an NHL hockey game in Glendale, Ariz. Kesler has agreed to a six-year, US$41.25 mil­lion con­tract ex­ten­sion with the Ana­heim Ducks. Ana­heim an­nounced the new deal Wed­nes­day.

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