Trade Ryan Kesler right now, if you really care about us

If Mike Gillis’s plan for this season was to mentally prepare the local fanbase for Ryan Kesler to get flipped for a big package at the trade deadline, he’s a flipping genius.

(It probably wasn’t his plan. Just saying, it’s really worked out that way.)

If you had floated the idea of Kesler exiting Vancouver back in early October, you’d have been asked to leave instead. Kesler was, and still is, the heart of the Canucks, the player arguably most important to their pursuit of another Stanley Cup Final berth.

But that dream is dead now, and if the Canucks want to win, they’ll tear their heart out immediately.

Kesler or no Kesler, the Canucks aren’t getting back to the Final. They may not even make the playoffs. Furthermore, he reportedly wants out. He’s not being pushed out. He wants out.

Six months on from the early season’s high hopes, most fans have had time to go through the five stages. I’d argue stage four climaxed at the seriously depressing Heritage Classic, played indoors despite being billed as an outdoor game, as heavy rain pounded the roof.

The weather was practically a metaphor for the entire season. In the back of our minds, we all knew it was going to rain, but after some surprise flurries the week before, and then the night before, we all fooled ourselves into thinking it might snow. Nope. It was a torrential downpour, because Vancouver can’t be anything besides what it is.

Two days later, after the depression has given way to acceptance, I can safely say the same goes for its hockey team. The Canucks are done. And that’s fine.

But that in mind, now is the time to look towards the future, and that means trading Ryan Kesler, the guy that will yield the most important pieces of it.

Trade him right now. Not at the draft. Now.

I understand that the Canucks aren’t out of it, and I understand there’s a little money to be made in even getting two playoff home games.

But if ownership in this city wants to win back the trust of a fanbase that’s grown cynical and bitter towards them over the past few years, they’ll trade Ryan Kesler within the next 24 hours.

The thinking around these parts is that ownership takes these fans for granted, that they value money over winning that, in the words of the late, great Michael Jackson, they don’t really care about us. This is the chance to prove that thinking wrong. With Kesler, the Canucks might be able to squeak into the playoffs. Might. Without him, they’re done.

Own it. Tell the fans you’re done, and that you’re willing to sacrifice a few extra dollars next month for a better shot at winning next year and thereafter, by sparing us another drawn-out trade saga and getting the best package you can get right now.

Because the fact is, the Canucks will get a better package for Kesler now, amid a bidding war that appears to be centralized in the Quaker State. According to reports, the Pittsburgh Penguins have said they’ll match any offer for Kesler. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Flyers appear to be in the running as well, both because Paul Holmgren is a nut and has to be involved in everything, and because, they know full well that a team with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Ryan Kesler is not going to be losing to them any time soon.

There are other teams quietly in the running as well, because they’re not stupid. People know what Kesler brings to the table: everything. His desire to win borders on insanity. This is a guy that would literally hack off a finger to help a team win. He almost did in 2006-07 for the Canucks. He almost did it a month ago for Team USA. You want that guy now, not in the summer, and teams are willing to pay a big price to make sure that if anybody gets him now, it’s them.

A the draft, cooler heads tend to prevail, and the deals are a little more sensible. That means, for the greater overall good, for the long-term pursuit of winning, the team needs to throw in the towel right now, to say goodbye to the pipe dream of a little run.

Call it. Show your fans you care. Trade away your best player and don’t look back.

26 comments

  1. rsen9
    March 4, 2014

    This post makes me sad.

    Like the kind of sad where you have to put a pet down because it has grown too old but at the same time you’re not mentally prepared to do it.

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  2. Leah
    March 4, 2014

    I really hope this was sarcasm because, COME ON!!

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  3. Eastern Dane
    March 4, 2014

    I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or not… (Especially from the last line.) I really, truly hope that you are being sarcastic. Because Kesler is the Canucks. He just is.

    And doesn’t the fact that every team wants him just go to show that he’s a ridiculously valuable player? Which means the GM who trades him is literally retarded?

    Please let this all be a nightmare.. and come this time tomorrow, Kesler is still a Canuck..

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    • Zukuss
      March 4, 2014

      I’d say that a GM who trades a ridiculously valuable player for their actual value or above is not retarded at all. It all depends on the circumstances behind the trade, and I, for one, agree with Harrison on this.

      If we don’t want to pull a Calgary, we’ve got to make some hard decisions. Trading Kesler is one of them. If we don’t do it now, while his value is so ridiculously high, then we will trade him or lose him at a later date for lesser value. That would be literally retarded.

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    • Jenny
      March 4, 2014

      Off topic, but can we not use “retarded” as a substitute for stupid? What year is it? Who still uses retarded?

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      • Wetcoaster
        March 4, 2014

        Zukuss’ post works with the literal meaning of retarded as in slowed or delayed. Retarded bombs are ones with parachutes to give the aircraft time to escape the blast radius, etc.

        Just another example of the English language changing.

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  4. Char
    March 4, 2014

    I agree with all of this. However I would add at the end, “unless the best thing you can get now is Sutter”.

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  5. James W.
    March 4, 2014

    We need to trade Kesler. If we don’t, we’ll become Calgary. This city cannot become Calgary.

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  6. Brent
    March 4, 2014

    Definitely ok with trading Kesler. He will get us a lot and the way he plays, more injuries are coming. Trade him now at max value.

    IN regards to Luongo, do whatever he wants. If he wants to be traded, trade him, if he wants to stay, keep him. He deserves what ever he wants.

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    • Neil B
      March 4, 2014

      And you thought Mike Gillis doesn’t listen to the fans…

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      • Brent
        March 4, 2014

        If only! But I am happy for Lou, but thought we could have got more for two top goalies.

        Gillis’s time is limited. Lets see what he does with Kesler.

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  7. Chris the Curmudgeon
    March 4, 2014

    Out of curiosity, has there been any evidence, I mean at all, that Kesler wants out? As far as I can tell, it’s a whole lot of ‘where there’s smoke, there’s fire’. Yeah, or a smoke machine, and smoke machines are pretty much what the entire world of hockey punditry is made up of.

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  8. naturalmystic
    March 4, 2014

    Luongo traded to the Panthers.

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  9. the olde coot
    March 4, 2014

    they should trade kess and bobby lu
    plus chris tanev and higgins too
    to each of them a favor’s due
    this is no more the place to play
    as once it was back in the day

    as for the rest i do not care
    if they are here or otherwhere

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  10. shoes
    March 4, 2014

    Lou gone to Florida………Yay for him Markstrom and and somebody else coming back

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  11. Richard
    March 4, 2014

    If they trade Kesler, their plan would be to go for the high draft choice….the rest of the season could be very ugly then.

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    • Dave
      March 4, 2014

      pretty darn ugly already.

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  12. mb13
    March 4, 2014

    Cue PITB’s analysis of Mathius’ CORSI and will proclaim he is a Tortorella type player.

    I have never heard of him.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      March 4, 2014

      Excuse me while I give a rat’s ass about whether you’ve heard about a player or not. Whoops, couldn’t do it.

      As for Matthias, he’s a reasonable third-line centre that the Canucks have been high on. His Corsi sucks, but that’s true of everyone in Florida, so it’s hard to judge him on that basis. I don’t care if he’s a Tortorella-type player, because I don’t think Tortorella will last much longer in Vancouver at this point.

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      • BBoone
        March 5, 2014

        Yes, Laforgarella will join Messier as the worst ever Canuck free agent signings

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  13. Naturalmystic
    March 4, 2014

    So who is the number one in Florida, Bob Luongo or Tim Thomas?

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  14. iain
    March 4, 2014

    Mathias and Markstrom would appears to be the 2014 equivalent of a bag of pucks – this is clearly a deal to do right by Bobby Lou and send him back where he wanted to go anyway.

    oh and dump a ton of salary in the process.

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    • Naturalmystic
      March 4, 2014

      After Tortorella decided to be a moron and play Lack, Luongo’s agent got on the phone with Gillis and said to trade Roberto. His agent started working the phones and helped to make this deal happen with Florida. I don’t think Gillis would have been able to make this trade without Luongo’s agent making some phone calls. Last season the Leafs wanted Vancouver to pick up a million dollars of the contract and that was what killed the trade. This season they say yes to picking up 800k of his contract. If the deal was made with the Leafs they would still have Schneider. I don’t see how Vancouver is improved. Ray Ferraro has watched the incoming Swedish goalie and said he finds ways to make himself small in the net and that he has struggled at the AHL level. Good job Gillis you traded away two the best goalies Vancouver has ever had for very little in return. If Lack is a one season wonder, I don’t think Gillis has a job for very long.

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  15. Dave
    March 4, 2014

    He is the only asset that the Canucks have that they can get something very good coming back in a trade. Gillis muffed up the latest Sedin deal , that now we rebuild around the Sedins once again.

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  16. RG
    March 4, 2014

    Amen, brother.

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  17. BBoone
    March 5, 2014

    It is more than a cliche that “whoever gets the best player wins the trade ”
    The more a trade is a ” hockey trade” the more true that is .
    The Luongo trade was partly a salary dump , thanks to GMMG , partly addition through subtraction thanks to Laforgorella and part hockey trade with some decent upside
    The Kesler trade will be a failure unless at some point in the next few years we realize we got a franchise super star in the deal . Personally I think it could be that Winterhawk defenseman
    And along with the roster player and first round pick Pittsburgh wins now
    We win later . A perfect hickey trade . Remember also we also get salary cap room

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