Locked & Loaded: Ryan Kesler Signs Six Year Extension

Update: Kesler, Gillis and Burrows talk about Kesler staying a Canuck (video)

Good news Canada: your favorite American is sticking around for a little while longer (H/t Kukla). From the mothership:

Vancouver Canucks President and General Manager Mike Gillis announced today that forward Ryan Kesler has agreed to terms on a six-year contract extension through the 2015-2016 season.

"Today is an exciting day for the Canucks organization," said Mike Gillis. "Ryan Kesler has excelled as a two-way player and in his role as an alternate captain. Ryan has showcased his ability to perform under extreme pressure and we are looking forward to continuing to see Ryan develop into one of the League’s premier players."

Kesler, 25, is in his sixth season with the Canucks and has established career highs in assists (45), points (66), power play goals (12) and game-winners (4) with 11 games remaining in the 2009-10 season.

The 2009-10 campaign also marks the third consecutive season that Kesler has recorded 20 or more goals. He is tied for 21st in League scoring (21-45-66) and tied for 6th in power play goals (11) this season.

Gillis had to get this done. Leaving him open to a potential RFA offer from another GM this summer would have been a ticking time bomb. Kesler has been outstanding this year - following his Selke-nominated campaign last year - and gives Vancouver a center they can rely on for the next six seasons. Remember those days when we would kill for a second line center? Even do crazy things like coax reluctant Swedes over for half a season? Phew! Moving on...

This puts Kesler currently second to Luongo in terms of contract length (the Sedins are up following the 2015 season). Better still, this means Gillis has the team core set until at least the end of 2013 (Kesler, Burrows, Luongo, Sedins, and Edler). If he can get some work done on a new deal for Raymond and a well-deserved extension for Ehrhoff, I dare say this team is sitting pretty for the foreseeable future.

Back to Kesler, we'll post the numbers when we get them thanks to treved who passed along Botch's tweet:

Ryan Kesler’s contract is at six years at about $29.5 million. It’s $4.25 million for the first two years, then $5.25 million for four.

That means in the next two seasons, and including Kesler's $4.25 million, then the aforementioned core will cost Vancouver $27 million (if you add in F-U, then it's $29.5 million). That's roughly 47-48% of the team's cap, going by the current $56,800,000 cap for this season.

(Update: Or it's $5 million per season? There is some conflicting tweeting going on.)

Somewhere we know Bobby Clarke smiles approvingly.

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