Recapping the 2014 Trade Deadline

This day was supposed to go very differently for the Canucks. This was supposed to be the day the Canucks made a statement about their plans for the future. This was the day Ryan Kesler was supposed to get traded.

Don’t get me wrong: not everyone in the Canucks fanbase is going to be upset that Kesler is sticking around through the rest of the season. Apparently Jay Feaster thinks the Canucks should have traded Kesler, which, more than anything else, makes me think it was the right decision to hang onto him.

But with the Canucks’ season crashing and burning all around them, this seemed like the ideal time to admit defeat.

It didn’t happen.

Did you miss it not happening? Then PITB is here to help. We liveblogged the entire trade deadline from start to finish and now it acts as the perfect recap. For best results, start from the bottom. Otherwise, you’ll be confused by all the players somehow getting traded to their original teams.


1:44 pm – To wrap things up, a little humour. At one point Ben Kuzma was duped by a fake Bob McKenzie Twitter account into saying that Ryan Kesler was officially traded to the Pittsburg Penguins. Apparently Eddie Lack took Kuzma at his word and went running to Kesler to tell him he was traded.

That’s hilarious, but probably not to Kesler. Poor guy must have slingshotted between emotions like crazy on that one and he landed on “royally peeved.”


1:24 pm – So, the deals aren’t entirely done. One more to talk about:


Pittsburgh wasn’t willing to meet the Canucks’ asking price for Kesler, so their backup plan was Marcel Goc and Lee Stempniak. That’s…not a great backup plan.

Finally — and I’m being optimistic when I say “finally” — the return for Reto Berra was a second round pick, which is crazy when you look at Berra’s track record outside of the Swiss league: 9-17-2 with a 2.95 GAA and .897 SV% for the Flames. Yikes. That’s not worth a second round pick.

1:10 pm – Let’s start wrapping things up. First, the details on the Legwand trade:


Jaroslav Halak is heading to Washington along with a 2015 3rd round pick, with Michal Neuvirth and Rostislav Klesla going the other way to Buffalo. Have to say, I think Buffalo did pretty well with this trade deadline.

I think that sums up all the significant deals for the day. It’s not the end of the world that Kesler didn’t get traded today, with the potential for a deal in the off-season, but it’s still disappointing to see so little happen.

1:07 pm – The rumours swirling were pretty clear that the Canucks wanted, at the very least, a young NHL player, a top-end prospect, and a draft pick for Kesler. The rumours also indicated that the Penguins would beat anyone else’s offer. And yet, they apparently weren’t even willing to meet Vancouver’s basic asking price.


I can’t say I’m surprised. With this, I find the claims that the Penguins couldn’t make a Kesler trade because of interference from Canucks ownership completely unbelievable.

12:48 pm – And Mike Gillis conducts his post-deadline interview on a golf course. Not great optics there.

12:44 pm – Gillis was rightfully asking for a hefty return on Ryan Kesler and Helene St. James has details on what he wanted from the Red Wings:

The Wings’ ears perked when Ryan Kesler, a native of Livonia, became available; he’s a top-six power forward who plays hard. But the Vancouver Canucks ransomed him, wanting a forward in his early 20s, a top prospect and a first-round pick.

It made no sense for the Wings to ante that up — it would have cost Gustav Nyquist, along with Tomas Tatar or Tomas Jurco or Riley Sheahan, along with Anthony Mantha (last year’s first-round pick, a 50-goal scorer in juniors), and a first-round pick. Adding Kesler — without having Zetterberg, possibly without having Datsyuk — wasn’t going to get the Wings past Boston nor Pittsburgh in the East. It wouldn’t even assure the Wings that they’d make the playoffs.

That’s a massive package (stop tittering) for Kesler and it’s understandable why Detroit didn’t bite. St. James makes a good point: as much as the Red Wings needed help at forward, those injuries have hurt their chances at a long playoff run so much that they likely didn’t want to spend big on acquiring Kesler.

Did Gillis ask for too much? That’s two good roster players, a top prospect, and a first round pick. I would assume that Gillis asked other teams for similar packages. There were rumours that the Canucks received “great offers” for Kesler, but “great” is a relative term.

12:38 pm – One more deal:


That’s a nice upgrade in net for the Capitals, in my opinion. They know just how good he can be after watching him dismantle the Capitals in the 2010 playoffs.

12:34 pm – The prospect heading to the Islanders in the Vanek deal is Sebastien Collberg, who plays in Sweden and just turned 20. He was picked just outside the first round in 2012. He’s a fine young player with potential, but considering the Islanders initially traded Matt Moulson, a first round pick, and a second round pick for Vanek in the first place, getting Collberg and a second round pick is a pretty paltry return. Making matters worse, the pick is apparently conditional.

This is looking like a nice deal for Montreal, but it will likely end up being judged by how Vanek performs in the playoffs.

12:22 pm – Details coming out now. Vanek is now with the Montreal Canadiens, which is a pretty big addition for Montreal. Second round pick and a prospect heading the other way.

Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick head to the Wild for Torey Mitchell and a pick.

The key here is, what’s the prospect in the Vanek deal and what’s the pick in the Moulson deal? That has a major impact on how good these trades are for each team.

12:16 pm – Lots of trades coming down the wire post-deadline. David Legwand is heading to the Detroit Red Wings from Nashville. The Red Wings were initially in on Kesler, but couldn’t meet the high price. Legwand is cheaper.

The Red Wings badly needed help at forward with their current injury situation.

12:14 pm – Thomas Vanek and Matt Moulson are both on the move. Unlike Kesler, Vanek and Moulson had to be moved now, as the Islanders and Sabres are nowhere near the playoffs and neither player was likely to re-sign in the off-season.

Moulson is heading to Minnesota. Vanek is on his way to…somewhere. Let’s see how this pans out.

Also, goaltender Reto Berra is heading to Colorado from Calgary.

12:07 pm – Welp.


Looks like the Canucks are done with the deadline. No Kesler trade. No Edler trade (though I didn’t think there would be one anyway). Just one trade: Diaz for a fifth. That’s thoroughly disappointing.

Any Kesler trade will have to wait until the off-season.


12:03 pm – WE HAVE A TRADE!


Oh. So, basically, the Canucks traded Dale Weise for a fifth round pick. I’m not altogether thrilled with that. I quite liked Diaz, more than Yannick Weber in fact, so it’s tough to see him go for such a low pick. I was also pretty fond of Weise, but thought Diaz was a great return for him.

Oh well.

Technically, the trade deadline has passed, but if trades were already in the works before the deadline, they’ll still be coming down through the next hour or so.

11:40 am – Getting close to the deadline and we have a little bit of Kesler news:


From what I can tell, that brings things down to the Ducks and Penguins, with the earlier report of the Wild being interested apparently a mistake.

11:26 am – Nick Schultz is heading to Columbus for a fifth round pick. Woooooo.

11:23 am – Regrettably, we won’t get to see Tim Thomas and Roberto Luongo as teammates in Florida.


I, for one, am pumped, because I have tickets for the Florida Panthers versus Phoenix Coyotes in Arizona on March 20th, as I’ll be there for Mariners spring training. I was going before Luongo got traded because the tickets were dirt cheap. After he got traded, I was worried that he might not start against the Coyotes, but now that Thomas is gone, the possibility of that is a lot lower.

Unsure of the return just yet, We’ll see. As for Luongo, he is, of course, devastated.


10:59 am – The return for Ruutu is apparently Andrei Loktionov, which is more than I expected. Loktionov’s just 23 and has some nice potential, even though he hasn’t quite lived up to his billing in the NHL just yet.

10:54 am – And now Tuomo Ruutu is heading to New Jersey. That’s a decent pick up for the Devils for this season, in my opinion, but he’s signed through 2016 and he’s just not the player he used to be.

No word on the return for Carolina, but it likely won’t be much, as this is basically a salary dump for the Hurricanes, who weren’t happy with Ruutu’s production.

10:49 am – Finally caught the name of TSN’s Guitar Guy: Lester McLean. His Kesler song was a nice little slice of humour: Is he on the move? Say goodby to the Couv.

Follow him on Twitter, because he deserves it for making the trade deadline bearable.

Meanwhile, Marcel Goc is heading to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a couple of picks. Goc is a center who takes tough assignments, so it will be interesting to see how that impacts a Kesler acquisition. If they still want Kesler, they may want him to play on the wing.

10:30 am – Jacob Markstrom will wear #35 for the Canucks, so if you have an old Cory Schneider jersey lying around, you just need a new nameplate.

10:27 am – Matt Frattin is heading the other way to the Columbus Blue Jackets along with a 2nd round pick and a conditional 3rd round pick for Marian Gaborik. Last year, the Blue Jackets traded Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett and John Moore, along with a late draft pick for Gaborik and two prospects, so you can see how badly Gaborik’s value has fallen.

Here’s how it really breaks down for the Kings:


10:19 am – Okay, Marian Gaborik is actually heading to the Kings, now.


The Blue Jackets will need to retain some of Gaborik’s salary to make him work under the salary cap for the Kings. That surely takes the Kings out of the running for Kesler, if they were ever seriously in the running from a Canucks standpoint.

On the Kesler standpoint, the Flyers are out, per Renaud Lavoie, but I love this addendum:


That’s hilarious. The Penguins let it be known that they would match or beat any offer from another team for Kesler, so it appears the Flyers decided to drive up the price as much as possible to hurt their rival. Kudos, Philadelphia.

10:14 am – By the way, Devan Dubnyk got traded to the Montreal Canadiens after previously being traded to the Nashville Predators. I think he’s greatly underrated and I still find it hard to care about this trade. That said, this quote from his TSN interview is fantastic:


10:09 am- So far, the highlight of the deadline has been Guitar Guy on TSN Tradecentre. I wish I had caught his real name, because he’s awesome. His Bryan Burke song was especially fantastic. His tie’s gonna be looooooose.

10:03 am – Just two hours until the trade deadline, so deals will likely start happening in a hurry. That could include a Kesler trade:


That’s in addition to the Penguins. Would the Canucks trade Kesler within the Pacific Division? I suspect not. What about within the Western Conference? The Wild have two of Kesler’s Olympic teammates, Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, so would he waive his NTC to go there? Seems plausible.

In any case, that’s a whole lot of action for a player that ownership doesn’t want to trade. It’s almost like those rumours were bogus to begin with.

9:39 am – Time to freak out! Ed Willes of The Province tweets that Canucks ownership is holding up Ryan Kesler trade talks as they are intent on making the playoffs! His source is basically the same reports we had earlier today! His fellow writers at The Province, Ben Kuzma and Jason Botchford straight-up contradict him, saying that Gillis has the green light to trade Kesler and is trying to get a deal done!


9:23 am – the second trade of the deadline is also a big one, as Ales Hemsky is on his way out of Edmonton.


Hemsky has been unfairly criticized in Edmonton and is still a quality player and a nice addition for Ottawa as they push to make the playoffs. The deal is reportedly for a 3rd and a 5th round pick, which is pretty cheap for the Senators, but Hemsky’s deal ends this season.

The issue for the Senators is that they have to pass four teams to make the postseason. If they don’t make it and don’t re-sign Hemsky, that’s two picks wasted. For the Oilers, that’s not a great return for Hemsky, particularly considering they’re apparently retaining half of his $5 million salary. Oddly, this seems like a bad trade for both teams. Is it just me? Is there something I’m not seeing here?

9:15 am – Love this shot from Derek Jory’s live blog of the Canucks trade deadline “war room”, mainly for Mike Gillis’s casual wear.

You go, Gillis. Rock that powder blue, button-up, collared t-shirt.

8:42 am – While we wait for news on the Canucks front, you need to watch the latest episode of New Van Fan. Seriously, these guys are hilarious and this time around they’re tackling the trade deadline with a letter to Mike Gillis.

Dan: Read that back to me.

Andreas: We wish to commend you on your excellent handling of the situation.

D: Oh no, no, no, no, no, no. What’s the opposite of that?

A: We wish we could slap you for creating this terrible and awful situation.

D: Tough, but fair.

8:34 am – From a Rangers perspective, this is a great trade, giving them a massive upgrade on the wing. St. Louis is also signed through 2015, meaning they’ve got a first line playmaking winger for another full season, while avoiding the question of re-signing Callahan, who isn’t worth what he was asking in contract talks.

It also reunites St. Louis with his former Tampa teammate, Brad Richards. This likely is both an upgrade on the wing and an upgrade down the middle, as St. Louis should immediately improve Richards.

Here’s an update on the terms of the deal:


That means that Tampa could potentially get two first round picks for St. Louis, which is a nice return for their captain, though it will be a low first-round pick in 2014.

8:21 am – Here we go, for real this time.


St. Louis has been one of my favourite non-Canucks for a long time and it’s a shame he won’t be ending his career in Tampa Bay. Interestingly, Bob McKenzie has suggested that Callahan is just a rental for the Lightning, as they’re not interested in paying him big money going forward. That’s odd, as St. Louis for Callahan is absolutely a downgrade for the Lightning this season, but since he wanted out, a deal had to get done.

The Lightning also get the Rangers’ 2015 1st round pick and 2014 2nd round pick, so Tampa gets some futures to go with the rental of Callahan. All in all, that seems like a reasonable return for the Lightning.

It’s a shame that this had to happen at all.

7:55 am - I should have known that a big trade happening this early in the morning was too good to be true…


I should have stayed in bed.

7:49 am – We’re nearly three hours into TSN’s coverage of the deadline and we have rumours swirling on Twitter that we’re about to have the first trade of the day.


If true, it’s an interesting move and one that fits what the Kings have done in the past. Like the Canucks, the Kings just can’t seem to score goals and Gaborik is the kind of player who, y’know, scores goals. Well, he used to. He’s only got 6 goals this season with the Blue Jackets.

Curious to know what the return will be and how the Kings will be fitting him in under the salary cap, as Gaborik has a $7.5 million cap hit.

7:22 am – James Duthie is talking to Roberto Luongo on Tradecentre right now. “It seems like it’s not real, to be honest with you.” He also says that he’s not sure how the whole thing went down and that he wasn’t expecting to get traded.

Elliotte Friedman does a great job breaking down how the Roberto Luongo trade came together in the wake of John Tortorella’s decision to start Eddie Lack in the Heritage Classic:

After several conversations, there are four major reasons this came together in less than 72 hours: Luongo’s agent, Pat Brisson, was given permission to explore the market on his own; Lack’s emergence; the Panthers are under new ownership looking to make a splash; and the Canucks adjusted expectations on the return.

Brisson declined comment Tuesday night, but it’s believed he and Luongo had a phone conversation Saturday after the goalie learned of his Heritage Classic fate. From there, the agent called Canucks President & GM Mike Gillis to protest the decision on behalf of his client.

During that conversation, Gillis gave Brisson permission to search for a trade. How much do you want to bet the first phone call landed in area code 954?

Luongo confirmed on the air that he had a discussion with Brisson, but he was in the dark for everything else.

7:04 am – There we go: Craig Custance calls into question the story out of Pittsburgh.


I wouldn’t be surprised if ownership wanted a say in a Kesler trade, considering he’s such an important part of the team, but it didn’t ring true that Gillis wouldn’t be “authorized” to make a deal. I suspect that ownership just wants to make sure the return is significant enough, which lends support to my theory that the rumours out of Pittsburgh are borne more out of frustration at the asking price than anything else.

6:33 am – Odd story out of Pittsburgh, where Rob Rossi suggests that Gillis’s job security is in serious doubt:

There is a growing suspicion within the Penguins that Gillis may not be authorized by Vancouver ownership to move Kesler. That seems to be a new development on Wednesday.

It’s hard to know what to make of this, since it’s just a “suspicion” and it’s coming from the Penguins, nowhere else. There are more than a few reasons why the Penguins would want to leak to the media that the guy they’re trying to negotiate with can’t do a trade.

First, it makes the Penguins look better if a deal doesn’t happen: It’s not our fault, fans, seriously. Second, they could hope that Gillis will want to pull the trigger on a lesser deal just to prove that he’s in control. Ray Shero tends to get the best of GMs around the league in trades for multiple reasons and I suspect various leaks to the media may be one of those reasons.

If it is true, then the “new development” part is particularly interesting, suggesting ownership wasn’t thrilled by the Luongo trade. I don’t really believe it is true, however. I suspect that this rumour, if it isn’t a ploy on the part of Shero, stems from frustration that a deal isn’t getting done.

5:30 am - The Canucks kicked off the crazy with the unexpected Roberto Luongo trade yesterday and there could be more craziness to come, but likely not for an hour or so yet, when the Eastern Conference GMs will start wheeling and dealing. If all goes as per usual, the Canucks won’t be making any moves for another four hours or so.

While we wait for the first trade of the day, why not read my 10 tongue-in-cheek predictions for what the Canucks will do today? Please note: if any of them come true, I will disavow ever calling them tongue-in-cheek and will insist I was being perfectly serious all along.

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  1. Kent from Nucks Misconduct
    March 5, 2014

    I knew I should have gone to the liquor store last night…

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  2. Naturalmystic
    March 5, 2014

    Pierre Mcguire reporting that Kesler will only accept a trade to Anaheim or Pittsburgh. Pierre says Aquilini has taken the reins from Gillis and will make the decision on the Kesler trade.

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  3. Rituro
    March 5, 2014

    Ugh, the suspense is killing me and killing my productivity. Clearly, me not doing my job is Gillis and/or Aquilini’s fault.

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  4. Lee
    March 5, 2014

    IF Aquilini is involved, kiss any trade good bye., And Pittsburgh acquiring Goc lloks like fall back so I do not expect Kesler to go there.

    Really we need to trade the GM and coach for whatever we can get!

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    • Joe
      March 5, 2014

      Why bother asking for anything in the “trade”. Them just moving on would be enough. Oops…but the then the Aquilinis make their next bad decisions.

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  5. Chris the Curmudgeon
    March 5, 2014

    Well the Raphael Diaz era sure didn’t last long in Vancouver.

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  6. Shade of Blue
    March 5, 2014

    How much of this was the Canucks asking too much? Couldn’t get the Luongo deal done last year because the price demanded was too high; now moved for not much more than a bag of pucks AFTER Schneider is gone. Makes no sense. No idea what they are planning but from outside, it sure looks bad.

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  7. bluemoonjones
    March 5, 2014

    The trade deadline is usually a bunch of hype from all involved, so no surprise or disappointment that basically very little went down league-wide.

    As far as the ‘nucks go, I am nothing more than a very meaningless longtime fan, but man would I sure like to hear what thought goes into an absolutely baffling exchange such as Diaz for a 5th rounder. Really? That’s the best you can do for Dale Weise?
    Just. Plain. Baffling. And I’m not even Dutch.

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  8. Naturalmystic
    March 5, 2014

    Aquilini is thinking purely bottom line for this season. Keeping butts in the seats prior to the playoffs and limping into the post season for 2-3 home games before the summer.Keeping Kesler enables Aquilini to sell the fantasy that the team can still compete without making any dramatic changes to the rest of the core of the team. That some tinkering will be enough. This lie hopefully suckers season ticket holders into renewing for the upcoming season. Aquilini loves his team, but he loves money more. I think Vancouver has enough inept competition in the conference to slip into the post season. I have been disappointed all season by Winnipeg, Nashville, Dallas, Phoenix. All of these teams have had numerous opportunities to pull away from Vancouver in the standings and have failed to do so. Vancouver will make the playoffs.

    Belee Dat.

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  9. J21
    March 5, 2014

    Since Diaz is an impending UFA, unless they were planning to sign him before the end of the season, trading him kind of makes sense… they can always try to ink him in the offseason if there’s a hole there.

    I’m not convinced the offers for Kesler will be much better in the offseason. Depending on what was offered, this might be a missed boat. There isn’t the same arms-race urgency for buyers that there is on the brink of the playoffs, every team is more optimistic about their next crop of youth and doesn’t feel the need to add more veterans by trade, and Kesler’s NTC ensures that a longer list of possible suitors doesn’t even matter, if there is even is a longer one.

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  10. Sean
    March 5, 2014

    If the rumours are true that the Aquilinis disallowed Gillis to make a Kesler trade… I mean that’s just absolutely stupid. The player DOES NOT WANT TO BE IN VANCOUVER. We are NOT MAKING THE PLAYOFFS THIS YEAR.

    This team is in VERY bad happens if this is all true. Unbelievable.

    Sorry for the caps.

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  11. Chris the Curmudgeon
    March 5, 2014

    You guys are missing an obvious aspect of this. If Kesler truly did say he would only waive his no-trade for Pittsburgh or Anaheim, it means the “unhappy” rumour is BS. Think about it: if he wanted out desperately, he wouldn’t do anything to limit his tradability. The only reason to be selective is because you’re also content to stay.

    Not sure if not trading him was the right move, but it seems clear that management’s position was most certainly not of “needing” to trade him. If they couldn’t get the offer they wanted, don’t sell cheap. And why would you? Kesler is our best player, he’s making below market on his contract and he can still be a useful player this year and next. It’s nothing like the Luongo situation, where the team had to make some kind of trade and where the circumstances (ie: contract) were a major mitigating factor.

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  12. bluemoonjones
    March 5, 2014

    Unreal, the Habs get Vanek.
    Montreal could well win the east.

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  13. Lee
    March 5, 2014

    Typical of the Canucks ‘brain trust’. They likely overvalued Keslar, like they did with Luongo last year and pushed anyone interested into a corner. That is not a good way to try and trade a player.

    As a long, long time Canuck fan, I am really throwing my hands up over this so called management team. As much as I dislike Tony Gallagher, I am beginning to swing around to his point of view (OMG!). I think that these guys really have no idea what they are doing. Where is the ‘reset’ that GMMG talked about – trading arguably one of the best goalie tandems for a third line centre, a back -up goalie and a prospect over two years? Jeez – really?

    And Tortarella is, as I have said from day one, the wrong coach for this team. Watching the Canucks slowly devolve into the Rangers circa-2013 is going to be neither enjoyable nor a way back to the playoffs.

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    • Chris the Curmudgeon
      March 5, 2014

      Far be it from me to defend the management because I hate them, but let’s just be clear about this whole goaltending situation. They traded a 34 year old guy with a huge contract, questionable desire to be here and declining play, who had been outplayed by his younger, cheaper, rookie backup (whose numbers are comparable to Schneider’s by the way), along with Schneider, who is a bona fide #1 but now less than 2 years from being a UFA. In return, they got not just a prospect, but a blue chipper top 6 guy, a goalie prospect whose talent has been suggested to be All-star calibre, and a big, strong 26-year-old third line centre who still seems to have some untapped potential. Yeah, it’s a little hard to picture, but you’re vastly underrating the guys that we got back, not to mention Steady Eddie.

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  14. James
    March 5, 2014

    I guess Lu was being prophetic when he told Kesler: “Whether you want out or not, you are staying bud.” (Paraphrased)

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  15. Gary
    March 5, 2014

    So GMMG was golfing…getting some early playoff time practice in?

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    • James
      March 5, 2014

      Judging by his ‘War’ room attire and ‘neard’, he is getting ready to retire to East Van and take advantage of the opportunities present there.

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  16. akidd
    March 5, 2014

    well, if they couldn’t get the right guys back then it’s a good thing that they kept kesler. he’ still the most valuable player on the team. absolutely no point in losing him for a brandon sutter-type and a middling pick. a future star like maata or nyquist? sure. but someone to plug a roster spot? nope.

    the most pressing need now is a new coach.

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    • Joe
      March 5, 2014

      I am not sure that a new coach is the most pressing need. I think a new President and General Manager might top the list, with a new coach close behind.

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  17. Noodle
    March 5, 2014

    I can’t figure out if it’s true Kesler wants out of Vancouver or if this was initiated by management to get younger. If it’s true that Kesler wants out, I’ll be very happy to see him go (and hopefully with a good return). As a fan, to me there a few worse things than having a player on your team that doesn’t want to be there.

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  18. tj
    March 5, 2014

    Rather a Canucks sh*tshow today. Luongo is gone, now it’s Kesler’s turn to be tied up in knots.

    I’m beginning to wonder if the Sedins pre-planned their trips to the IR list…

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