Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Flyers look to poach Canucks' Kesler

Given that it's been eight years since a restricted free agent was tendered an offer sheet, this is big news. The thing to keep in mind here is that by signing the 22-year-old Ryan Kesler to a one-year deal, the Philadelphia Flyers could, in essence, gain his rights for a lot longer than that.

Contract negotiations between the Vancouver Canucks and Kesler had not been progressing well, but even still, I'd expect GM Dave Nonis to be rather displeased at this development.

More on that as it comes.

It's turning into a big day for hockey news in general, as two other high-profile players — Edmonton's Joffrey Lupul and Ottawa's Alexei Kaigorodov — both signed multi-year contracts.

UPDATE TSN is now reporting that Keith Primeau's pending retirement is what was the impetus for the Kesler offer sheet. Primeau was scheduled to make $3-million this coming season, and with that contract off the books, Clarke had room to make a pitch for Kesler.

Another interesting sidebar is the fact Clarke tried to trade with Nonis for Kesler during the off-season, but was apparently rebuffed — even when Clarke indicated he planned to sign the youngster to a RFA offer sheet.

Kesler was selected 23rd overall in the 2003 entry draft by the Canucks — one spot ahead of the Flyers, who then took Mike Richards. I don't doubt Clarke's had his eye on Kesler for a while.


At 6:45 p.m., September 12, 2006, Anonymous Darren said...

Bastards. Kesler looked to be a lock for the Canucks 3rd line, as a minimum. $1.9 million is a bit insane for a guy who's scored all of 10 goals in his NHL career.

At 6:51 p.m., September 12, 2006, Blogger JavaGeek said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 7:05 p.m., September 12, 2006, Blogger JavaGeek said...

Doesn't this really make Nonis look bad?

Had he offered Kesler $1.2 M he probabaly would be signed by now, but as far as I know he's only been offered < $1M...

I'm just shocked someone is willing to pay $1.9M for the guy (maybe he's a lot better than we think).

At 7:32 p.m., September 12, 2006, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Kesler has the potential to be very, very good. And it's that potential that Clarke's after here (after all, it's not the $1.9-million for one year he's looking at — he's thinking of the years after that for which Kesler would still be owed to the Flyers).

It's a very savvy move by Philadelphia, but a curious one given how loaded they are at forward already.

At 8:08 p.m., September 12, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think it makes Nonis look bad at all. He was trying negotiate a contract with Kesler for market value. $1.9M for Kesler is a substantial overpayment, even considering I think Kesler is likely good for 20 goals this year.

Bobby Clarke has just forced the Canucks' hand.

At 8:22 p.m., September 12, 2006, Blogger Chris said...

Well, eventually someone had to be the guy who saw teams pressing against the cap and trying to stiff a few of their younger players to make it all work. Bobby Clarke just happened to be the one cavalier enough to undermine the NHL's collusion in not poaching restricted free agents. It will be interesting to see what sort of consequences this has for the Flyers. One has to think that its open season on their RFAs in the future.

At 12:18 a.m., September 13, 2006, Blogger Achtungbaby said...

Interesting move by Clarke. After all, most of us regard this as a shrewd short term move. Long term, the Flyers are already in cap trouble with a nice crop of prospects of their own to resign in the coming years. What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Maybe smaller markets should be paying attention and viewing this as a way to pouch great talent away from big salary teams. Getting your team close to the cap pays a heavy price. Why not break your fellow gms balls?

Who'd have believed the irony that Clarke was the one who showed the small market teams the path of the new CBA while dangling his own balls in the presser like this?

At 11:06 a.m., September 13, 2006, Anonymous swabbubba said...

Just putting this out here. Is Kesler going to be dealt to the Flyers. With Primeau retiring that frees up some cap space. And if Bobby wants the player before maybe this is Nonis saying you deal with the agent. A sign and swap although I am not sure what would come back to the nucks?

At 12:23 p.m., September 13, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, the fact is that Kesler hasn't yet performed in Vancouver and the management hit their ceiling in what they are willing to offer him. With the offer sheet, Philadelphia will owe Vancouver a 2nd round draft pick next year. I'd say go for it! Besides, Vancouver is close, if not over the cap and have a bunch of hungry young guys at training camp competing for a reglar spot.

At 12:27 p.m., September 13, 2006, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Is Kesler going to be dealt to the Flyers.

No. Under the offer sheet rules, once a player signs one, he cannot be traded by the team that accepted the contract. In other words, if Vancouver agrees to the $1.9-million deal, Kesler is a Canuck for the entire 2006-07 season.

At 12:44 p.m., September 13, 2006, Blogger Joe Pelletier said...

Funny thing is this can come back and bite Clarke and the whole NHL.

At some point soon, Clarke's prize youngsters like Richards, Carter, Umburger, Pitkanen etc will qualify for arbitration, and the Kesler contract will be a landmark case. $1.9 for 10 goals?

There's guys all over the NHL who will get arbitration next summer who are extremely happy with this contract.

Joe Pelletier

At 12:53 p.m., September 13, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And Joe, that is why GM's across the league are up in arms. Not because an offer sheet was dropped on an RFA, but because an exorbitantly overpriced contract was offered to a young, 10-goal scorer. Market value for these guys has gone from $800-$900k per season to $1.9M in one day. Way to go Bobby.

At 1:57 p.m., September 13, 2006, Blogger Tex Texerson said...

Is this really a big deal? There's a salary cap. Something will give, because obviously every 10 goal scorer in the league, promising prospect or not, cannot make $1.9 million/year. The cap and the market will regulate this. Ask Anson Carter about that.

At 9:24 p.m., September 13, 2006, Anonymous Darren said...

Anson Carter signed with Columbus today for $2.5 million. Only for one year, but I've got 50 bucks that says he doesn't pot 33 goals with Daniel and Henrik bouncing pucks in off him.

At 9:30 p.m., September 14, 2006, Blogger J. Michael Neal said...

Hey, maybe restricted free agents are going to become, you know, free agents.

At 6:20 p.m., September 16, 2006, Anonymous Mike said...

While many of those pissed at Clarke criticize him for causing salary inflation I do have to point out that with Nonis matching the offer sheet there are now at least TWO GMs that would pay him 1.9 mil.

How many GMs would pay 7.5 mil a year for Chara?


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