According to reports, Vancouver Canucks centerman Ryan Kesler wants to be traded. According to the report, Kesler wants to go to either the Pittsburgh Penguins or the Chicago Blackhawks. To make things clear from the beginning, this is not about the Penguins. The Blackhawks, coming off a Western Conference Final elimination, have some questions to answer and Kesler might be on the docket.
The Blackhawks have not had a true second-line center for years. Not even during their Stanley Cup runs of 2010 and 2013 did they have anything close. Michal Handzus was second-line center for much of the year, but it clearly did not work out in the end – or at all for that matter. With Teuvo Teravainen waiting in the wings, the Hawks already have a second-line center in their future. But is Kesler really the answer to their problems?
The elephant in the room is the salary cap. With Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews set to sign mega-bonuses, this is a definite issue. Kesler, meanwhile, has two years left on his current deal with a salary of $5 million. It doesn’t take much to realize that unless the Canucks lower Kesler’s price, the Hawks may have to do some cap dealings in order to get the Hawks under the salary cap.
Since the Hawks have had 2-C issues for some time, there will definitely be a few choruses of “yes”. Kesler would be an immediate answer to their problems while Teuvo gets ready for the big leagues. Once Teuvo is ready, Kesler could be dealt. But Kelser’s history of injuries make this difficult. Plus, the Hawks may have to deal some big names to get Kesler.
So there is no easy answer for this situation. If the Hawks can get a lower price and a deal that clearly favors them, then Kesler would be a good option. But that’s not how the NHL works. If the Hawks can’t get any good deal, then no, Kesler is not worth dishing out a lot of money to get for one or two years. But he’d definitely be better than what the Hawks have had for a few years.