Over the course of the 2014 NHL trade deadline, perhaps the most popular name on the ballots, that actually was never traded, was that of Ryan Kesler, one of the current (for now) alternate captain’s of the struggling Vancouver Canucks. While the Anaheim Ducks were one of the teams supposedly in the running for Kesler at the trade deadline, the Canucks took their man off the table (none of us know if he was actually ever really on it) and kept him for the remainder of the team’s season.
Kesler still has a contract with the Canucks through the 2015-16 season, but if Ducks GM Bob Murray can figure out a way to snatch Kesler up from Vancouver, his talents and leadership are much needed aboard the train meant to finally take Anaheim through not only a successful regular season, but a long and hopeful shot at the Stanley Cup in the postseason.
While Anaheim certainly has made a claim to fame with one of the deepest rosters in the NHL, the team could certainly use strength down the center. The Ducks’ line combinations usually show Ryan Getzlaf, Mathieu Perreault, Saku Koivu and Nick Bonino centering the four offensive lines. While Perreault and Koivu’s futures with the Ducks remain uncertain, the addition of Kesler down the middle would bring the type of scoring presence Anaheim needs to push through teams that have the ability to keep the Ducks’ top line at bay.
Kesler also brought strength to Vancouver’s special teams, with nine power play goals, seven power play assists and one shorthanded goal. His hand for capitalizing with an extra attacker could also prove needed in Anaheim; it’s no secret the Ducks’ power play struggled in consistent slumps throughout the year.
Perhaps the idea of moving Kesler down south is not a realistic option at this point. Everything in terms of his trade speculation is mere hearsay. But if Kesler does at some point down the road become available, Anaheim might just be the perfect place for the offensive star to make a new home.