Should Vancouver Canucks Trade Ryan Kesler or Respect His Wishes to Stay?

By Casey Drottar
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

With NHL games back in full swing after the Olympic break, the craziness that comes from the upcoming trade deadline is at a fever pitch. Rumors are spreading like wildfire about possible deals, and they’ll continue to do so until the March 5 deadline passes.

One of the marquee names that keeps popping up is Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks. Initially, a rumor surfaced that Kesler wanted to be traded by the Canucks. Shortly after, Kesler vehemently denied this, claiming he wanted to stay in Vancouver. In response to the American forward’s wishes to stick around, Canucks GM Mike Gillis danced around the idea, leaving many to assume any offers for Kesler would be seriously considered regardless of whether or not he likes it.

Reports are saying Gillis is receiving his fair share of proposals for Kesler’s services, with the Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Rangers all apparently interested in a trade. Should Gillis try and move Kesler, or should he honor his player’s request to stay?

First of all, as we all know, this is a business. Numerous players have been traded despite the fact they may not have wanted to be. With this in mind, don’t expect Gillis to base his final decision on the fact that a trade will make Kesler sad.

Down to the basics, a trade of Kesler could be a solid route to take for the Canucks. At the moment, they’re a point out of playoff contention in the uber-competitive Western Conference. Should they make the postseason, don’t expect them to get a high seed. Is it worth it to keep one of their best players so they can get slaughtered by the Anaheim Ducks or St. Louis Blues in the first round? Couple this question with the fact that Vancouver has won one playoff game in two years – with better seeds than what they’d likely get this year – and you realize that focusing too much on the present might not be wise.

If there weren’t a sizable list of teams asking for Kesler, it might be an easier decision for Gillis. However, as mentioned earlier, requests are coming in pretty frequently. Reports have Gillis asking for a prospect, a first round draft pick and a roster player in return for Kesler. It’s a price tag some teams are balking at, but don’t expect the demands to decrease significantly between now and Wednesday. Clubs get more and more desperate to make moves once the deadline gets closer, so I wouldn’t be surprised if someone ponied up to Gillis’ trade demands.

In the case that someone does give Vancouver everything they’re asking for, then yes, they need to deal Kesler. Again, the Canucks aren’t going anywhere this season. If you have clubs interested in making a trade, and you’re focusing on the future of your team, why wouldn’t you make this deal? The answer better not be “because the player in question said not to.”

It’s honorable for Kesler to say he wants to stay in Vancouver. In the end, you’d rather hear that than demands to leave like a few other players are voicing. However, Gillis needs to focus on the future, not the present. When it comes to building the future for Vancouver, trading Kesler just makes more sense.

Casey Drottar is an NHL writer for Follow him on Twitter @CDrottar19 or “Like” him on Facebook

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