So, how about that reported Ryan Kesler trade request? Pretty weird, huh?

The Canucks played their first game of the post-Olympic stretch on Wednesday night, and in a stark departure from the seven games they played before it, they even won! Imagine that! Pretty neat, if you ask me.

But even despite coming away with two points for the first time in a month, few are talking about the busted slump today. Much more compelling than the players who played is the drama surrounding the dude that didn’t: Ryan Kesler, who was out with broken fingers after pounding a table in an aggressive trade demand, or something like that. I’m having a hard time keeping up.

There have been rumblings all year that Kesler was unhappy. Prior to the break, there was a rumour that the Canucks and Penguins had nearly reached a deal that would have sent Kesler to the land of Cros. It raised a big question. Why would the Canucks trade Kesler, unless they honestly believed they had no chance at winning this year?

On Wednesday, we got the answer. According to Louis Jean of TVA, because Kesler asked them to:

 

They may not have a choice? Pardon my netspeak, but LOLZ. That’s what people said about Roberto Luongo, and that dude was on the bench last night (which seemed a bit weird, to be honest, but we’re getting sidetracked).

All that said, trading Ryan Kesler seems a much easier proposition than trading Roberto Luongo. Kesler isn’t hampered by the “Roberto Luongo rule”, for one thing, and he isn’t the only guy who can play his position at any one time.

Teams like to have several centres. And if one of those centres has an established track record of being able to play the wing on skill lines, anchor a shutdown line, play the penalty kill, score in bunches, take his team on his back in the postseason, and win matchups against just about anyone, well, you can see how he’d fit on literally any team that fancies itself a playoff contender.

Boston and Pittsburgh, especially. Imagine the little battle they got into over Jarome Iginla last year, and then imagine if Iginla was still in his prime, was a centre, and Jay Feaster wasn’t trying to pull the trigger while simultaneously swinging a cat around his head by the tail.

Crosby-Malkin-Kesler? Bergeron-Krejci-Kesler? That team wins the East. Heck, that team beats the Blackhawks.

But it’s going to cost.

I’m surprisingly okay with a Ryan Kesler trade, I think because this entire season has allowed it to gradually dawn on me that the Canucks are no longer a contender, and would be smart to start making moves with an eye towards three years from now, rather than three years ago. (Perhaps this was the gambit… all along? After all, according to Jean, the trade request dates back to the start of the season. Maybe the Canucks decided to play mediocre hockey for months, to really massage the fanbase into a place where they were okay with this? Oh, that’s sweet, Canucks. You’re so good to us.)

And with all this talk of how their window is about to close, the right Kesler trade changes the conversation to how their window is about to open. There are definitely some guys out there the Canucks could turn up that would brighten their future the way well-placed mirrors and some task lighting brighten up a room.

(Very important sidenote: WikiHow says the first and best way to brighten a room is to turn on a lamp. Thanks WikiHow!)

Of course, there are a few things working against moving Kesler. The fact that this report is out there, for one. A player’s value drops when a team has to trade him. You want guys pried out of your city. You want to not want to have to move guys. To that end, both Kurt Overhardt and Mike Gillis offered denials Wednesday, the former’s more aggressive than the latter.

(Mike Gillis is busy using all his aggression for listening, according to the most aggressive radio listener in the hockey blogosphere:

 

Gillis is apparently the Jason Statham of listening. If he doesn’t listen hard enough, his heart stops.)

Speaking of Gillis, after this report, one wonders what’s going on in the Canucks’ front office that important players keep asking for trades. These requests are becoming alarmingly annual. But I digress.

The other issue is Ryan Kesler’s maybe broken hand. Will it hurt his trade out of town, and was Kesler loudly complaining about how it might in Sochi like a total weirdo? I don’t know the answer to either of those things. But I do know that GMs are fooling themselves if they think they’ll ever get a mint condition Ryan Kesler — even his MacFarlane figure is playing through a hip injury, and the packaging seal comes breached. Still, you want to be able to use him, at least.

Fortunately for the Canucks, the Kesler injury doesn’t sound quite as serious as his desire to move on from Vancouver.

21 comments

  1. DanD
    February 27, 2014

    What I find even more alarming is that, according to Jean’s tweet, Kesler thinks he’s in a VCR!

    I’ll show myself out.

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  2. Connor
    February 27, 2014

    I wouldn’t trade Kesler until we’re absolutely sure we’re out of the playoffs. If we string together wins before the trade deadline and we’re in a playoff spot, we might need Kesler for the stretch run. I could see the Canucks trading him at the draft.

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    • Diehardnuck
      February 27, 2014

      Jay Feaster? Is that you?

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  3. Chris the Curmudgeon
    February 27, 2014

    The issue I always have with these unsubstantiated rumours is that, yes, maybe they came from the player, but maybe they also came from a team that wants a player they view as available, and would like to use the media as leverage to drive down the asking price. Kesler may want out (which would surprise me a little, as his children were born there, etc), but it’s certainly conceivable. However, it’s also extremely likely that Gillis has taken some calls about him, indicated possible availability, then asked for the moon in return. If I’m Chiarelli or Shero or whoever, why not feed the media a little nugget about that conversation just to soften Gillis up a little? It’s as plausible of a source of rumours as anyone in the player’s camp.

    As it is, Kesler has two years left after this one and a no-trade clause. He’s valuable but also controls his own fate. A good piece of any puzzle but also a perennial injury risk. Gillis would be stupid to move him for anything less than on the Canucks’ terms, whether or not these rumours are true. However, I happen think Gillis IS stupid, so we’ll just have to see.

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    • akidd
      February 27, 2014

      chris, i wouldn’t worry about gillis rashly moving anyone on anything but his own terms. it’s the opposite that i’m worried about(see: roberto luongo.) best-case i think is a big auction at the draft with all the disappointed gms lining up to make that big move to soothe their upset fanbases. there’s only one cup-winner remember. that’s the prudent thing. as a fan i want action now, cause that’s what fans want.:)

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  4. akidd
    February 27, 2014

    the canucks aren’t cup-competitive at the moment and kesler’s window as a top centre has just a few years left so even if he didn’t ask for a trade it makes sense to trade him. as much as we love him as a player in vancouver his marketing value on an american team has to be twice as much. as harrison says, his addition to a competitive team could create a cup-winner but because that team would have to give up a top player(plus picks, prospects) a draft-day trade rather than a trade-deadline trade would maybe yield the possibility of a better roster player in return. it’s hard to give up a top performer for a team that’s getting set to go on a playoff run.

    i think it is really the right thing to trade kesler. besides him being so much more valuable on a different team there’s the whole helicopter center thing. let’s face it he’s never been a playmaker and i think the second-line centre needs to dish the puck. 2nd-line production on the canucks(besides kes) has been a big issue for years. guys like shinkaruk are gonna need some dish.

    as for the canucks absolutely needing a centre in return…i don’t agree. i think the canucks need a scoring winger more than anything. the timeline of them being competitive in about 2-3 years is about right and if all goes well development-wise horvat should be that centre.

    and lastly i hope that gillis isn’t worried about trading kes to the western conference. even within the division should be fine. making the competition better should be the least of gillis’ worries at this point.

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    • J21
      February 27, 2014

      I tend to agree that he’s a piece you look at moving (if you can) whether or not he specifically asked for it in Sochi. He’s one of the most desired players on the roster, and one where trade value probably *will* come close to his value on the Canucks — he is quite exposed in the NHL, is marketably American, and is very versatile, yet may not actually play that many games season in season out for all we know.

      Also, I’ve kind of assumed that he’s wanted out for a while — he’s a bit of a perennial grump, and particularly being in a Western Canadian market (because let’s face it, guys seem to swallow their pride when it comes to the Detroits and Philadelphias of the world, rather than immediately wanting out at the first sign of imperfection as we seem to get) once the Canucks season started spiraling downward I expected him to be one of the guys to start looking elsewhere.

      The Canucks aren’t actually in contention for anything right now even if they make the playoffs. I say it’d be a smart move, along the lines of what they did with Mogilny in 2000 despite still having a shot to qualify. That deal paid very large dividends for them longer term.

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    • Chris the Curmudgeon
      February 27, 2014

      No, his value is higher now. Teams that think they have a shot will overpay for him at the deadline, whereas the draft yields more prudence. The goal would be to target someone who Kesler is better than now, but who will be better than Kesler next year or the year after.

      I’d be sad to lose Kesler, but this is also a building possibility. If Ryan Johansen is available as has been suggested, I’d jump at that. From the Penguins, I’d need to hear the name Maatta and then some others as well before I even consider it. The Bruins have a lot of tempting pieces, Reilly Smith or Dougie Hamilton could both be targetable.

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      • Neil B
        February 28, 2014

        I keep hearing Ryan Johansen, and I’m not certain why. Because he’s a BC boy? I would think that the package would be something like Anisimov, Audy-Marchessault, & a top-round pick. The player, prospect, & pick combo is the likely final deal structure. I just don’t see it with Columbus, honestly.

        I’m pretty sure that, if the deal happens, it will be with someone unexpected, a Washington or a Colorado, for instance.

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  5. DanD
    February 27, 2014

    I do sometimes wonder about Gillis’ “trade sense,” for lack of a better word. Honestly, I kind of wonder if he has much rapport with GM’s around the league. It’s also curious, as you pointed out Harrison, that there seems to be a trade request every year. This is not a “Gillis is awful! Fire him!” comment. But I do wonder if he could help himself by shifting his persona and/or leadership style a little.

    Of course this may all be totally unfounded. But I’ve just been wondering these things lately. Anyone have any thoughts?

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    • Neil B
      February 28, 2014

      Despite the hoopla of the “fire Gillis” crew, he’s shooting about .500 on trades, which is probably about average for NHL-calibre GMs. His draft record is spotty to poor (albeit no worse than the Canucks as a franchise). He is excellent signing free agents, and is pretty good managing waiver wire pickups. Most of his free agent signings left money on the table to come here, as did many of his re-signed players from the prior regime. Ask Chicago how easy that is.

      I think that the big improvements Gillis needs to make are improving the performance of the scouting, and improving the conditions of the pipeline (ie: owning Vancouver’s own minor-league franchises, so that they can strategically develop their draft picks), which is currently a work-in-progress.

      That said, unless magic happens, Gillis will get fired some time in the next 4 years, and the next GM will profit from the hard work he’s doing right now. Just like every GM in the history of the NHL.

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  6. the olde coot
    February 27, 2014

    He’s right there for the U S A
    Then claims he is too hurt to play
    It seems mayhap he’s out of sorts
    Or simply has no use for Torts
    It’s time to send him on his way

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  7. Jeremy
    February 27, 2014

    I think we tend to overestimate the trade value of Canucks we love. Anyone remember Cory Schneider? Young first-rounder with a track record, emerging #1 G, decent contract…for a first-round pick and nothing else? Cody Hodgson, a blue-chip first-rounder who was already rounding into form at 22…for Kassian? I realize Kesler is more established, and a cut above these guys, but you can be certain we’d be disappointed at the return.

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    • shoes
      February 27, 2014

      Exactly Jeremy….exactly the opposite of what you posted. Goalies tend to fetch a small amount in trade, the Luongo rule that came in retroactive backed Gillis into a corner. He got a #9 pick for Schneider. Lets say Horvat turns out better thant say Eberle #22 pick…..that would be the trade of a lifetime considering we have two top goaltenders and need a frontline centre in the next year or two. I do not recall a Cody Hodgson trade at all. Or are you referring to the time that Mr. and Mrs Hodgsons boy asked for more ice time and changed his agent to a guy that is in a feud with Gillis and then got dumped out of town. Please do not compare Hodgson to Kesler. Kesler will get a fantastic return for all the reasons that PTIB listed above. He is exactly the player every team wants and I hate to see him go, but with enough return and given his ongoing health issues…..it may be best.

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      • Jeremy
        February 27, 2014

        My point (probably not well articulated) was how much overvaluing we do as fans — not to compare Kesler to the players I mentioned. Most of us thought (and wished) Schneider would fetch a lot more. Draft picks are full of promise, but can just as easily go bust. I wouldn’t be opposed to trading Kesler, just suspecting that our expected (or at least hoped-for) return is probably higher than the actual market value. Nobody is going to be giving the Canucks a younger version of Kesler plus top picks/good prospects.

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      • Chris the Curmudgeon
        February 27, 2014

        So what you’re saying is that the Hodgsons are actually the ones pulling the strings for the Canucks, not Gillis? Do you think that if Mr. and Mrs. Kane go up to Stan Bowman and pestered him to get their little Patty out of Chicago that he would give in? More likely he’d laugh in their faces, hang up and block their number. Gillis is weak, period. There’s no way to spin the Hodgson trade to make him look like anything but a helpless ditherer. If he had a little more spin, he’d have said that he’s not trading the kid, period, so Cody could either learn to be happy with earning his minutes or learn to be happy in the AHL. Cody’s a smart kid and if there really was anything wrong with him, he’d have been fixed up good.

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      • mb13
        February 28, 2014

        hahahahaha… nice to see shoes is still delusional. LOL

        hey … how did that Kings game work out in January? I thought it was supposed to be a big corner turn for the Canucks. Kings were supposed to be embarrassed.

        Yep – so embarrassed of their Stanley Cup win and being 5 points up on the Canucks.

        Poor shoes…some people are so far behind, they actually think they’re winning.

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  8. Andre
    February 27, 2014

    If “Gillis is …the Jason Statham of listening”, he surely is the Mr Bean of trading.

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  9. Bob
    February 27, 2014

    If there was a trade, what do you think the value would be? If you send him to Pittsburgh or Boston, their first rounder will be so low it may as well be a second rounder. Let me take a stab — maybe 2 first rounders, 2 prospects, and 1 okay player in return?

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    • Neil B
      February 28, 2014

      Pick, player, prospect. The pick would need to be a higher one–third rounders need not apply. The player must either be a current second-liner or someone who projects as same. The prospect needs be a good one–not necessarily their best, but someone ready to step up to the bigs in a couple years at the latest. From Boston, I’d say Knight/Cehlarik as the prospect, Jordan Caron as the player, and a 2014 pick.

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  10. Aaron
    February 28, 2014

    I like the idea of seeing what Edmonton could offer but don’t think Kes would go there. I just see some good trade potential there. More likly Pitsburg or Boston for obvious reasons. I def thing we need a servicable player in return as well as a pick/prospect or 2. A goal scorer would be what I would be looking for in the servicable player. Maybe a younger player just getting into the NHL who will get better but isn’t going to make a big difference in the playoffs. The pick/prospects would depend on that player. Thats just my thoughts.

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