The Vancouver Canucks re-signed promising centre Ryan Kesler to a three-year, $5.25 million US contract on Thursday.
Kesler, 22, recorded six goals and 10 assists in 48 gamesin 2006-07before suffering a hip injury in January that sidelined him for the remainder of the season
The six-foot-two-inch, 205-pound native of Livonia, Mich., recovered in time for the playoffs, but was knocked out by a hand injury in the opening game of Vancouver's first-round series against Dallas and did not return for the remainder of the post-season.
"I'm going to be hungrier at the beginning of the year," Kesler said during a conference call. "I never really had a serious injury that kept me out for more than one game at a time.
"I'm ready to start the season today if I could. I have a couple of months to get back into shape. I'm itching to get back on the ice and get a couple of games under my belt."
Kesler was at the centre of controversy last summer when as a restricted free agent he inked a one-year, $1.9-million offer sheet with the Philadelphia Flyers that was later matched by Vancouver.
Philadelphia's offer appeared overly generous for a player who at the time had fewer than two seasons of NHL service and only 12 goals under his belt.
Thatled some to accuse Flyers general manager Bob Clarke offorcing theCanucks to overpay to retain Kessler, who was Vancouver's first-round choice in 2003.