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.