Potential Ryan Kesler Trade Destinations

Who is Mike Gillis trying to reel in?

I generally try to make a point of refraining from jumping in on rumour-mongering. I don’t have any “inside” sources, nor do I pretend to. My job is to analyze things tangible things that we do know, like player performance and team trends. I don’t have “an anonymous source” whispering things into my ear. 

Generally speaking I know as much as about all of the trade talk as Twitter tells me, which is a dangerous game; for every report going in one direction, there’s quickly another attempting to not only refute it but also argue the opposite. Around this time of year we have to be careful in deciphering what’s real, and what’s a BS smokescreen, all of which can prove to be easier said than done.

But at this point I feel fairly confident in speculating about the Ryan Kesler trade rumours. Numerous trusted sources (basically everyone other than the player and his agent, *cough cough*) have come out saying they’ve heard the same thing – Ryan Kesler has in no uncertain terms made it clear to the Canucks that he’d like to move on from the organization. 

So with that in mind, let’s spend some time looking at the potential landing spots, and even more importantly, the potential returns Mike Gillis and his staff could be looking for in return for their best two-way player.

During a radio hit last night, Jason Botchford hinted that the team has put together something of a “short list” of players they have in mind. Meanwhile, Nick Kypreos reported that the Canucks are looking for a rather familiar package: 

Looks awfully similar to something we saw not too long ago, no? It makes sense, though. While the Canucks are clearly not having the type of season they likely envisioned heading in, they’re still not in a position to go through a full-on rebuild. They have too many good hockey players on their roster at the moment to accomplish something like that, and I’d imagine that the brain trust of the team doesn’t want to see something like that happen, either.

As I mentioned not too long ago, they’re better off attempting to reload on the fly like the San Jose Sharks did than going full-Edmonton Oilers. You never want to go full-Edmonton Oilers.

In a perfect world they’re going to try and get their hands on a young roster player that can step right into the lineup to contribute, and a prospect + picks to both supplement guys like Horvat and Shinkaruk that they’ve recently brought into the system, but also potentially allow them to make another big move come summer time.

It’s a steep price, but Ryan Kesler is a former 40-goal scorer who is still on the right side of 30 for the time being, can still drive possession while playing tough minutes, and is an absolute horse. No forward plays more than him per game this year, only 5 players have more shots on goal than him, and his $5 mil cap hit over the next two seasons is a pretty appealing one, all things considered.

The Canucks are right to drive a hard bargain and ask for a lot. A team that has (or at the very least, thinks it has) legitimate playoff aspirations would be substantially upgrading their team by bringing a player with Kesler’s skillset into the mix. 

Here are the options (in alphabetical order, rather than order of preference or likeliness, just to be clear):

Columbus Blue Jackets

All Kesler photoshops via The Stanchion

The Columbus Blue Jackets have been mentioned as one of the teams that has inquired about Kesler’s availability. They’re currently 3 points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, but that’s nothing in the grand scheme of things. 

They’ve been playing significantly better hockey for a while now (on November 30th they were a 45.5% fenwick close team, and have jumped all the way up to 50.6%), and they finally have both Nathan Horton and Marian Gaborik in the lineup at the same time. They seem poised to make a run, particularly given how open their Conference is; after the Bruins and Penguins, it’s a complete and utter crapshoot).

Just as importantly, the Blue Jackets have a plethora of young assets to play with. They had themselves 3 picks in last year’s 1st round, and thanks to years of being bad they’ve accumulated quite the collection of intriguing players. 

The first one that comes to mind is Ryan Johansen, a local boy from Port Moody.

While it’s nice to dream, I have to wonder why on earth the Blue Jackets would move him in this particular deal. There’s a case to be made that he’s nearly already Kesler’s equal these days:

Player Goals Assists Corsi Rel QoC OZ Start % Corsi For % Corsi Rel
Ryan Kesler 20 18 1.411 43.7 51.3 -1.4
Ryan Johansen 24 22 1.384 44.9 50.9 6

Not to mention that Johansen is 8 years younger than Kesler, with substantially mileage on his body. I know that him coming back to Vancouver would make for a great story, and that it would be quite the haul for the Canucks, but I don’t think it’s a realistic one.

I’d argue that the much more realistic target would be Boone Jenner; I’m personally a big fan of what he brings to the table, even if he hasn’t been able to fully show it in his first year as a pro because of an early injury that derailed him, and the smorgasbord of players with which Todd Richards has to work with in Columbus. Obviously Jenner himself wouldn’t be enough, but as part of a package involving something like Alexander Wennberg (14th overall last summer) and a pick? Now I’m listening.

The elephant in the room: would Ryan Kesler waive his NTC to go to Columbus for the next 2+ seasons? I can’t speak to that. The only person that could answer that is Kesler himself, who played a season of college hockey in Ohio State once upon a time. People would lead you to believe that he’d decline the option to play there because of how Columbus is generally perceived by people looking at it from a distance, and because of his continued beef with RJ Umberger (as if two players that didn’t like each other have never gotten over their personal problems and played together!). That may very well be true, but I’m not in a position to rule anything out.

At last year’s deadline they surprised everyone by being the team to pry Marian Gaborik from the Rangers. I distinctly remember everyone taking a double-take and going, “Columbus? Really?.. Like, the Blue Jackets?”. Just remember that Jarmo Kekalainen is one feisty individual. 

Detroit Red Wings

                          Dim Wings

The Red Wings are one of their other trendy teams considered to be in on The Ryan Kesler Sweepstakes. Like Columbus, they’re in that jumbled up group of middle tier Eastern Conference teams, and they’ve got a ton of young trade chips to work with.

Two other things that help make Detroit look like a feasible destination for Kesler: he’s from Michigan, and Henrik Zetterberg is out for the regular season following back surgery. All of that makes it much easier to imagine these two teams swinging a deal that could benefit both sides.

The thing that could potentially throw a wrench into this plan, though, is that the three players I’d highlight as the best options all play on the wing. I’m well aware that the center position is already one of need for the Canucks, and were they to move Kesler they’d surely need to replace him right away with a competent NHL pivot (if only to avoid relegation), but I’m also weary of pigeonholing assets. 

General Managers frequently get themselves into trouble when they put too much significance on acquiring players that fit specific roles, rather than just acquiring the best players possible and dealing with it later. Look at the Vancouver Canucks right now and where they sit in the standings. Their main concern should be bringing in good hockey players, regardless of which position they play. 


*wipes drool from mouth, and keyboard*

The three names that come to mind on the Red Wings are Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, and Tomas Jurco. If you’d like scouting reports and deeper evaluations on them, I’d highly recommend reading Corey Pronman’s review from prior to the season. 

Nyquist is the biggest, most established name, but he’s also their senior by a couple of years. Considering the fact that he had put up 118 points in 114 games at Grand Rapids from ’11-’13, it struck me as a particularly curious decision for the Red Wings to send him back down to the AHL to start the year like they did. 

But with all of the injuries they’ve dealt with, their hand was forced in calling him up, and he’s been awesome in his first real extended look in the NHL. He hasn’t needed to be sheltered while playing on the team’s top line (or whatever has been left of it), and has managed 27 points in 35 games. Let me put his production in perspective for you: he’d currently be one goal away from being 2nd on the Canucks in goals on the season, despite having played 25 fewer games than Chris Higgins (who is 2nd on the team with 16 goals).

Tatar and Jurco both have a smaller sample size to work with this season, but both are known for having a filthy set of hands, and being very creative offensively. I’d say that the Dallas Stars are aware of what Tatar is capable of based on the GIF I’ve attached above. Canucks fans should be salivating at the phrase “filthy set of hands, creative offensively”, because it’s something that this team has been clearly devoid of in recent seasons. The Canucks have a need down the middle, sure, but it’s not like their cupboard is filled with wingers that can make things happen and put the puck into the net, either.

I should finally note that the Red Wings have a couple other intriguing prospects in their system as well. Guys like Calle Jarnkrok, Riley Sheahan, and Anthony Mantha all come to mind. Ken Holland isn’t one to make rash, miscalculated decisions, but on paper the fit between these two trading partners sure seems like it’s there.

New York Rangers

Dim Rangers

The Rangers are right smack-dab in the middle of that aforementioned Eastern Conference playoff picture, and between the likes of Derek Stepan, Chris Kreider, and JT Miller, surely have some trade chips that would get Mike Gillis’ attention. In particular Stepan, who is a legitimately good center that came up and thrived under the watch of John Tortorella. 

I had questions about how much Stepan was actually worth as a two-way pivot because of the three-ply minutes he was crushing in over the past two seasons, but this year he has managed to remain a positive possession player despite facing notably tougher competition, and starting far fewer shifts in the offensive zone.

There’s a fit, right?

Well, there’s just one little problem..


As you’ll recall, Kesler and Vigneault didn’t exactly have the smoothest of relationships. Ray Ferraro sounded pretty convinced that a reunion wasn’t likely at all. Along those same lines, Nick Kypreos said that cited the “Alain Factor” as a big roadblock in a potential deal, and Tony Gallagher took it 19219210 steps further when he said “Kesler would rather go to prison than play for Alain Vigneault”. 

Sure, that’s a bit much, but the point is well taken. 

Philadelphia Flyers


Back on June 11th I wrote about the potential fit between the Flyers and Canucks as it related to all of the Alex Edler rumours circulating at the time. All of it still stands, and when it comes to Ryan Kesler, the connection between the two teams is even stronger because of:

Homer soon

Paul Holmgren. His undying thirst for big name forwards that make a lot of money will never be quenched. I could totally see him going all-in on Kesler, giving up young valuable assets along the way because, Paul Holmgren. 

Wouldn’t it be amazing if he broke up a Stanley Cup finalist so that he could go from a 26-year old Mike Richards –> 2+ years of cultivating and developing the young talent he got in return for him –> a soon-to-be 30-year old Ryan Kesler. Hollywood wouldn’t go through with this script because of how obvious and too perfect it is.

I know that Wayne Simmonds provides an intriguing combination of size and skill, and that Brayden Schenn throws a lot of hits and has this allure about him because of how good he was in the WHL and how high the Kings drafted him, but Sean Couturier is far and away the guy to target if you’re Mike Gillis and the Canucks. Just look at how the underlying numbers stack up:

Player Corsi Rel QoC Off Zone Start % Corsi Rel
Sean Couturier 1.34 45.2 -2.6
Brayden Schenn -0.305 54.4 -5.6
Wayne Simmonds 0.073 57.2 0.7

A player of Sean Couturier’s age really shouldn’t be able to handle the types of minutes that he does, as gracefully and effectively as he does. He has 29 points on the season (compared to 33 for Schenn and 43 for Simmonds), despite playing with significantly inferior linemates, incomparably more difficult circumstances, and quite possibly being the league’s best forward on the penalty kill

He’s also still be only 21 years old well into next season, and is locked up for the next two years at paltry $1.75 mil cap hit. Based on his production in Major Junior (to go along with his production at the NHL taking everything into consideration), I suspect that he hasn’t even scratched the surface of what the end result will be once he hits his ceiling. I’d say that, for my money, he’s the best and most appealing player that the Canucks could conceivably get their hands on as a return for Kesler.

Pittsburgh Penguins

A few weeks ago it came to my attention that the Canucks and Penguins had been discussed a potential deal for Kesler, which broke off at the last minute prior to the trade freeze accompanying the Olympic break. The rumoured return was Brandon Sutter and Simon Despres, which at first glance struck me as not being nearly enough. After doing some more digging, I can say that it’s definitely not enough. 

The irony of that deal is that the Penguins were in the exact same spot as the Canucks a while back, and it’s how they got Sutter in the first place. To go along with the two prospect defensemen they got from the Hurricanes, they also received Brandon Sutter, who was supposed to jump right into Staal’s spot as the 3rd center behind Crosby and Malkin. He was the 11th overall pick back in ’07, and had shown that he could handle the tough minutes reasonably well during his time in Carolina.

Unfortunately for both him and the Penguins, he has been a total tire-fire during his time in Pittsburgh. Most players that boast a sub-40 OZ start % and a Corsi Rel QoC of nearly 1.500 aren’t expected to have good possession data. So he was given something of a free pass for being a 42.4% corsi player. 

But this year.. he has been a trainwreck. He’s actually still at a 42.4 corsi for%, but the problem is that it has come during significantly softer minutes (up to 43.5 OZ start %, playing tertiary competition). A potential excuse for him is that his two most common linemates this year have been Tanner Glass and Chris Conner (?), and while that’s certainly valid, if he’s the player that he was touted as being then he should still have better numbers. It’s as simple as that. 

If you remain unconvinced that Sutter isn’t the answer, I’d strongly advise you to read Mike Colligan’s article on the “Three Center Model” in Pittsburgh. I’m sure that Ray Shero will pursue Kesler very aggressively over the next week – his team is a Stanley Cup contender, but something needs to be done about that bottom-6 if they’re going to have a realistic shot at beating the Bruins – but if Brandon Sutter is the roster player he’s dangling, then it would behoove Mike Gillis to #logoff.

Tampa Bay Lightning

dim light2

For some reason I haven’t seen the Tampa Bay Lightning floated around in the discussion of the 4-5 main teams that could be a fit for Ryan Kesler. I find that very surprising; they’re currently 3rd in the East, and have managed to be a top-10 fenwick close team despite not having the services of Steven Stamkos for the past 4 months. They’ve done so because of the tremendous youth depth that Steve Yzerman has been able to assemble, to go along with Ben Bishop’s Vezina-worthy campaign, and Marty St.Louis being amazing.

To get familiar with the players they’d be able to offer, I recommend checking out Corey Pronman’s write-up from the summer. Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov, and and Ondrej Palat are all very intriguing options. If they offered up two of those guys to go along with a pick, I’m sure they’d have Mike Gillis’ ear.

The Wild Cards

Dim Leafas

I spent a lot of time debating whether or not I wanted to include some other teams on this list, but we’ve already ran long, so I’ll just run through them here. On paper the Toronto Maple Leafs would seem like a potential trade partner; after running their best center out of town last summer, they could desperately use a game-breaker down the middle to go along with Kessel and JVR on the wings. 

The problem with them, though, is that there’s a lot of speculation that a) they’re not willing to part with Nazem Kadri/Jake Gardiner (which is a deal-breaker right there), and b) that Francesco Aquilini reportedly doesn’t want to see his guys shining in the national spotlight on the Leafs.

Then there’s the Washington Capitals, who could desperately use a 1B/2A option down the middle to go along with Nicklas Backstrom. I actually never even really considered them as a candidate until I read Craig Custance’s article (Insider) the other day, which got me thinking. The problem is that they already blew their load prematurely when they gave away Filip Forsberg during last year’s deadline, and I can’t really see Mike Gillis trading away Ryan Kesler for a package centered around a Russian player like Kuznetsov.

Finally, you’ll notice that all of the teams we’ve highlighted in this article reside in the Eastern Conference. Were the Blackhawks or Ducks (or even Colorado, Minnesota, etc.) to approach the Canucks with a Godfather offer of sorts in an attempt to get a final leg-up on their competition, it’s definitely possible that he’d relent and make a conference rival that much better. I just don’t find that to be a very likely outcome. 

But we really don’t know with any certainty how any of this will play out. While it’s looking more and more like Kesler will be moved by March 5th, it’s also just as likely that the team will hang onto him and revisit this around the Draft. Or patch things up, and move forward with him still on the roster. After all, it’s not like we’ve never seen a star player look like he was headed out the door, only to have the script flipped.

  • KleptoKlown

    If Kesler wants to stick at centre and to be traded to a team that will give him a more prominent role, I’m not sure he would accept playing third fiddle behind Sid n Geno.

    Kesler is basically 30 with A LOT of miles on his body. Getting back multiple premium assets is unlikely.

    Espescially when the whole world knows he’s available.

    I suspect that while the return will look reasonable via the cost-benefit analysis, the real-world return won’t help this team get any closer to contender status in what is left of the Sedin era.

    On the whole, though, this was a pretty realistic & sobering post specifically the Johansen stuff…

    • KleptoKlown

      Why do you always have to be such a Debbie Downer? I sometimes think you’re a CA staffer with a gimmick account trying to increase traffic (not a bad ploy at all) If you really are this pessimistic, I feel bad for your mother.

      He wouldn’t want to go to Pittsburgh because of Crosby and Malkin? What are you smoking? I can see it now…GMMG calls Kesler into his office. “Ryan, we have a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins and we would like you to waive your NTC.” “Well Mike, I know we agreed earlier to find me a new team, and I’ve always wanted to win the Stanly cup…but the Pens are just TOO good. Yeah, I would have a great chance at winning a cup with them, but I need to be the center of attention.”

      Kesler is 29, he still has 2-3 prime years left. Add in his incredible cap hit of 5 million per year for the next 3 playoffs, and multiple premium assets are exactly what the Canucks should be asking for this former Selke winner/ Playoff Warrior. The only way the Canucks asking price should go down is if this is dragged out beyond the draft.

      How exactly does “The whole world knows he’s available.” adversely effect his trade value? I’ll answer that for you…it doesn’t. I can see Hommer calling up GMMG “Hey Mike, I’m going to pull Kesler trade offer off the table. I still think it’s a fair trade, but I heard you were talking to the Rangers too…that hurts man, I thought we were tight bro.”

      Just to clarify. You think that the more teams that are involved in these trade discussions, the more of a diminished return the Canucks get? Keep hitting that pipe mang.

      • KleptoKlown

        “He wouldn’t want to go to Pittsburgh because of Crosby and Malkin?”

        Because Jordan Staal loved the 3LC role…

        “Kesler is 29, he still has 2-3 prime years left. Add in his incredible cap hit of 5 million per year for the next 3 playoffs, and multiple premium assets are exactly what the Canucks should be asking for this former Selke winner/ Playoff Warrior. The only way the Canucks asking price should go down is if this is dragged out beyond the draft.”

        He doesn’t even have 3 years left on his contract.

        And the playoff warrior stuff is pure nonsense.

        “How exactly does “The whole world knows he’s available.” adversely effect his trade value? I’ll answer that for you…it doesn’t.”

        Do you have an example of trade in the salary cap era that resembles what you are suggesting?

        “Just to clarify. You think that the more teams that are involved in these trade discussions, the more of a diminished return the Canucks get?”

        The fact that you cannot read is not my problem.

        • andyg

          Plus Kess will have limited this to a few teams any way and you can be sure they all know who is in.

          They want to keep it tight in Van because the media will drive the players nuts. Just like they did with Lou!

        • jung gun

          You missed something. Kes will have 3 more playoffs before his contract is up. Do the math. Also, why do you disagree that he’s a playoff warrior?

          Do you have a counterexample of a player being on the open market and their value going down?

          • KleptoKlown

            How do you figure that? I mean, I understand how a NMC could potentially make a players value go down, it’s not a guaranteed thing.

            Specifically in Kesler’s situation, I can’t see his NMC having a negative impact on his value.

            He’s got 2 years left after this year, so term isn’t the problem.

            5 million dollar cap hit for a player like him is a down right bargain, so money isn’t the problem.

            If Kesler said he’d only go to the Wings, or that he was going to start sitting out games, then yes, the Canucks would have to lower there asking price. I highly doubt Kesler does either of those things.

          • Mantastic

            1) There’s no guarantee Kesler is moved in the next few days (players with term are typically not traded at the deadline).

            2) Only gritty Canadians can be playoff warriors…

        • KleptoKlown

          “Because Jordan Staal loved the 3LC role…”

          You’re suggesting Kesler would play a 3rd line role? I thought I asked you to put the pipe down in my last post. Kesler, a right handed shot, would get a go with both Malkin and Crosby, both left handed shots. Having both a LHS and RHS available to take faceoffs isn’t exactly a bad thing. At Kesler’s age, you know he has to be thinking about the Stanley cup, and Pittsburgh, Boston, or Chicago would provide him the best chance of doing that in these next 3 playoffs. You can’t seriously believe Kesler would refuse that opportunity.

          “He doesn’t even have 3 years left on his contract.”

          I never said that. I said 3 playoffs Kesler has 3 playoffs left on his contract.

          “The fact that you cannot read is not my problem.”

          “And the playoff warrior stuff is pure nonsense.”

          Yeah, well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.

          “Do you have an example of trade in the salary cap era that resembles what you are suggesting?”

          Martin Erat

          The fact you suggest a diminished return based on public knowledge of availability is asinine.

        • pheenster

          Why does everyone knocking the Pittsburgh (potential) trade assume Kesler would be the 3rd line centre?

          First, it wouldn’t make sense for the Pens to spend that much to improve the third line, not when there are cheaper options available.

          No, if they want Kesler, it is to play the wing with either Malkin or Crosby, not behind them in a logjam at centre. (Keep in mind that Staal never had any success as a winger. Kesler obviously has with the Sedins)

          I think a more likely scenario is Kesler plays the wing in the top six, and the Pens just go power on power instead of loading up a shutdown line, that way Crosby and Malkin get more ice time. Sure, he’ll play center on the PK, and if someone is in the box, but that isn’t what they want him for.

          Basically he’d be playing the role of Bergeron from Team Canada, just with way more offensive upside.

          (Or maybe they make Kesler the 2nd line centre and stack Malkin and Crosby on the same line. That didn’t work out well in the past, but that was due more to a young staal not being able to run a second line by himself, IMHO)

        • pheenster

          If he’s traded before the deadline a team will have him for the current playoffs and for the two years remaining on his contract for a total of three years. It’s the new math.

          I’m still pushing for a young centre (Couturier), a prospect (Samuel Morin) and a 1st – hello Philly!

        • andyg

          As per the example of everyone knowing a player is available but the team still got good value, I’d have to look way back into prehistory for the Miller to St Lou trade.

          Seriously, when you look at what much better pedigreed goalies have gone for, Buffalo made out like bandits.

  • pheenster

    Who has cap space for Kesler? Wings or Flyers might be best for us, but we’d need to take salary back. Priority should be players, not picks, given our draft record and the strength of the 2014 draft. This might be easier at the draft with a higher cap – and he’d still likely be the best player available.

  • acg5151

    It’s a sad time when Ryan Kesler is getting traded. I can’t help but feel like this is the beginning of the end.

    That said, with the inflated prices of today’s trade market, there’s no reason why Ryan Kesler can’t fetch a couple of solid prospects and a first or second round pick. The guy has almost 40 points in 60 games and is a great defensive forward, in fact, he has been one of the best second line forwards in the league for years. If you’re looking to add that last piece to try and get you a cup, you can’t go wrong with Kesler.

  • 11ty11

    I wouldn’t mind a Ryan Kesler for Ryan Strome (and another prospect/draft pick) deal. How do the Islanders pass on a Tavares-Kesler one two punch? its also Garth Snow..

    • Mantastic

      not a bad idea and i think both GMs would agree to a trade centring around those 2 players but no way in hell does Kesler waive his NTC to go to the island.

  • pheenster

    Since we’re rosterbating how about this:

    Kesler, Edler and Lu to Flyers for Giroux (who doesn’t have an NTC and is due a $5-million signing bonus next season) and Couturier.

    Isn’t this fun?

    • KleptoKlown

      It’s more fun when this roasterbating (love that term btw…) involves a trade that could actually work.

      Steve Mason and his $4.1 million cap hit make a Lui to Philly trade nothing more than a dry squirt.

      • pheenster

        I said Gillis would never ask anyone to waive a NTC. Big difference. Two of the three guys I mentioned have (or may have) asked for out. I just threw in Edler’s name to make the deal work.

        As for the guy who mentioned Steve Mason’s contract, this would be true if we were discussing a sane organization here. But we’re talking about the Philadelphia Flyers.

  • andyg

    Habs apparently involved? Eller seems a realistic player to pick up. Young 2 way centre and out of favour, so the ‘+’ could still be a good return. Obviously you want Gallagher though. Bergevin wouldn’t give us both, would he?

  • andyg

    I like the Det idea because we know he’d willingly go and those coming back might be better. But it strikes me that Nyquist, Tatar and/or others just aren’t enough in return for Kes. What about this (or am I high?): Kesler + Hansen (or Richardson) for Nyquist and Abdelkader? Hansen lies below Abdelkader and Nyquist, but I thought combining the two might create a moderately even split. Thoughts?

  • Mantastic

    Kesler will be the most intriguing name until the trade deadline. He is a difference maker especially when he doesn’t have to carry a team. I can see a contending team overpay for his services.

    If Detroit was a bit higher in the standings, I can see them making a very nice pitch for Kes. It’d be nice to see something like a Tatar and Jurco or something like that.

    Philly might be interesting for those 3 players but many say Couturier isn’t a top 6 guy.

    If Columbus doesn’t offer Ryan Johansen in a package, I’d hang up the phone if I were Gillis.

    Those are the three teams with the more intriguing prospects IMO.

  • elvis15

    Not a lot of love for Winnipeg in the speculation around Kesler. If we could make a deal involving Kane or Wheeler, I’d have to wonder if Kesler wouldn’t mind going back to where he played for the Moose. They’re an improving team as well, so it wouldn’t be like we’re asking him to waive to go to Buffalo.

      • Mantastic

        To be fair, a number of notable players have decided to resign in Winnipeg.

        Perhaps surprisingly, quite a few of them are American and another (Mark Stuart) has expressed interest in staying as well…

        • KleptoKlown

          Just because I have some time to kill while letting my PVR get ahead of a few commercial breaks…

          Blake Wheeler – signed RFA contract, will be UFA when it expires.

          Evander Kane – signed RFA contract, will be UFA when it expires.

          Bryan Little – signed RFA contract, will be UFA when it expires.

          Andrew Ladd – signed RFA contract, will be UFA when it expires.

          Dustin Byfuglien – signed RFA contract, will be UFA when it expires.

          Yeah, players are flocking to Winterpeg…

  • andyg

    Unless we can get a great young player like Couturier in, I want a trade with the Wings. So many tantalising prospects. Tatar, Jarnkrok + would be a great deal.

    Given Burrows scoring issues – even playing the vast majority of minutes with the Sedins – I’d like to see him given a defensive role at centre with Hansen/Higgins/Richardson on his wings. They could face reasonably tough comp and handle lots of d zone starts, freeing up Booth-Kassian-Schroeder to face easier comp and hopefully bring some secondary scoring. It would hopefully solve our longstanding issues at 3C too.