If you’re impressed with Ryan Kesler’s play of late, thank former GM Dave Nonis. Two-and-a-half years ago, Nonis had a decision to make when then-Flyers GM Bobby Clarke signed Kesler to a one-year, $1.9-million US?offer sheet.
Kesler was a restricted free agent coming off a 23-point season and was due a marginal raise. Nonis had negotiated a deal that would pay Kesler just over $900,000 for the year, but that all changed when Clarke more than doubled that amount. Rather than let Kesler walk for a second-round draft pick, Nonis bit his lip and ponied up to keep the 22-year-old. After an injury plagued campaign that produced just 16 points in 48 games, Nonis got Kesler under contract for three years at $1.75 million per season.
Canucks’ fans are now enjoying the fruits of that labour as Kesler is living up to his potential. But most importantly, he has found synergy with Mats Sundin and Pavol Demitra, which has provided the Canucks a dangerous second scoring line for the past two games. That trio is also more than capable of playing responsibly in their own zone, especially given the strength of both Kesler and Sundin in the faceoff circle.
• Stefan Logan’s decision to sign with the Pittsburgh Steelers means more work for Roy Shivers, Jacques Chapdelaine and Dan Dorazio.
As the Lions’ director of player personnel, Shivers has the unenviable task of finding replacements for the likes of Logan, Cam Wake, Tyrone Williams and Otis Floyd. He also needs to bring in a speedy wide receiver to replace Paris Jackson, who will move into Jason Clermont’s old slotback position. And there’s still the strong possibility that he must find a formidable offensive lineman to compete for Rob Murphy’s former spot at left tackle.
As for Chapdelaine and Dorazio, it’s back to the drawing board on offence. The pair will collaborate on putting together a more explosive offense of which Logan was supposed to be a focal point.
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