Canucks suspend talks with Kesler, Raymond and Mitchell Staff

2/2/2010 8:04:32 PM

Reports indicate the Vancouver Canucks have cut off contract talks with restricted free agents Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond as well as unrestricted free agent Willie Mitchell until after the season. 

Kesler is in the final year of a 3-year, $5.25 million deal, but GM Mike Gillis told TEAM 1040 in Vancouver that the two sides agreed to wait until after the season ends to get a new deal done with the .

"We have a policy where we're willing to discuss contracts through the course of the season, as long as it doesn't become a distraction," Gillis told the TEAM 1040 Radio. "And we felt that in this case, we had plenty of time at the end of the year. Ryan is a key guy on our team and we are determined to get him re-signed, but it ebbs and flows and we felt it was best to wait until the end of the year and be totally focussed on it."

Kesler has 48 points in 54 games this season and the report indicates he may be looking for a salary in the neighbourhood of $5 million per season.

"Perhaps there's disappointment but we went through it last season in two of our core players, in Daniel and Henrik (Sedin), and it didn't get done until the last minute," Gillis told the radio station. "So, this is the nature of things in this and that's how we decided to proceed.  But we believe there's plenty of time at the end of the season to come to terms with Ryan."

The Vancouver Province reports the Canucks have also suspended contract talks with another restricted free agent in Mason Raymond.  

Defenceman Willie Mitchell is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer but the Province is reporting the Canucks have decided to take the same action with his contract discussions.