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New Canucks GM Benning hopes to meet with Kesler next week

May 24, 2014, 1:50 AM EDT

Ryan Kesler Getty Images

With a new general manager in Vancouver, one of the question marks now surrounding the Canucks is what will happen to center Ryan Kesler.

It was reported in February that Kesler requested a trade out of Vancouver, however he denied that. At the trade deadline, Vancouver’s former GM Mike Gillis didn’t pull the trigger on any of the reported deals that were out there for Kesler, and with the NHL Draft coming up later next month, surely speculation is going to rise again.

Jim Benning, introduced as the Canucks’ new GM on Friday, told reporters during his press conference that he will try to speak with Kesler next week.

Based on what he said during a live question-and-answer session prior to his press conference, it seems Benning would like to keep Kesler going forward.

“He’s a warrior. Every night he comes to the rink and he plays hard. He’s a good skater, he’s a big-body guy. He’s physical,” said Benning.

The 29-year-old Kesler, ravaged by injuries throughout his career but especially the past few years after the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, scored 25 goals and 43 points in 77 games in 2013-14. He also has a no-trade clause in his contract, but has reportedly been willing to waive that for six teams, according to The Province.

Despite injuries in the past, and declining point production as a result, it’s believed he could still fetch a good return from a team in the market for a second-line center capable of killing penalties, playing on the power play, adding 20-to-30 goals and just being an overall menace to play with most nights.

  1. canucks30 - May 24, 2014 at 2:35 AM

    Kesler wants a chance to win a Stanley Cup and does not want to go through a rebuilding process.

    In order to do that, the Canucks will have to bring in a quality winger for Kesler to play with (something Gillis failed to do since the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals). If they do that, (i.e. Evander Kane, James Neal, Thomas Vanek, Matt Moulson, Mike Cammalleri, Dany Heatley, etc.) he will likely be inclined to play out his contract and attempt to contend with the Canucks current core group of players. If not, he will ask to be traded.

    Since the Canucks do not have as many tradeable assets as other teams and lack cap space, they will likely have to go the cheap route and hope an underachieving UFA winger has a rebound season.

    • jennettalia - May 24, 2014 at 5:21 AM

      Canucks still have both compliance buyouts, and one would go to Booth if they wanted to push for a big signing. That gives 16 million for no big re-signs and plenty to spend on a Moulson.

      • canucks30 - May 24, 2014 at 7:19 AM

        They already used a compliance buyout on Ballard and also lost $800,000 of cap space by eating 15% of Luongo’s contract.

        Also, rather than throwing $6 Million/year+ with term at a guy like Moulson or Vanek, I think they would be better of signing a stop gap like Heatley for cheap on a short term deal and then bring along guys like Horvat, Shinkaruk, Gaunce, and whoever they draft this year (Dal Colle, Ritchie, Virtanen, etc.) to fill that role moving forward.

        They already have enough 30+ players signed to long-term deals at big money with no-trade and no-movement clauses.

        The best option is still Evander Kane but the Jets would probably prefer to move him to the East and teams like Philadelphia and the Islanders for example, have better young tradeable assets to offer.

      • 19to77 - May 24, 2014 at 6:34 PM

        Heatley? Really? Not that he’s entirely washed up – there’s some gas left in that tank – but the guy is one of the slowest skaters in the League at this point. Speed is one of Kesler’s biggest strengths. Either he’d be leaving Heater in the dust half the time or slowing his own game down to accomodate. I agree that a stopgap option is probably the best choice right now, but Heatley would be an extremely poor fit to me. Cammalleri is an interesting option. Definitely more of a fit to Kesler’s speed, anyway.

  2. joeman26 - May 24, 2014 at 8:53 AM

    Benning and the Bruins will be trade partners in at least one trade

  3. paulerhythm - May 24, 2014 at 12:56 PM

    Should the Nucks trade Kesler, it’ll be to an EC team, like the Bruins for, say, a Marchand and Paille?

    • shaundre93 - May 24, 2014 at 1:02 PM

      Only if he can play wing… It would also have to be a decent prospect (Fraser?) instead of Paille. Smith – Bergeron – Kesler would be the best two way line in the league. Bruins could rid themselves of Marchands rep while getting a player who brings many of the same qualities… Great deal for the B’s. Idk about Van though

      • canucks30 - May 24, 2014 at 2:41 PM

        Not sure you can sell guys like Brad Marchand and Dave Bolland in Vancouver. I wouldn’t mind because they have had playoff success, but I don’t know if many other Canucks fans would be so welcoming based on past history.

        Also, the Bruins aren’t reportedly on Kesler’s desired trade list (Tampa, Detroit, Colorado, Anaheim, Chicago, and Pittsburgh).

  4. 34defense2014 - May 26, 2014 at 9:14 PM

    Why do you guys always want Ex-Islanders??? As a Die Hard Isles fan for 42 years!! Trust me!! Anything and or anyone the Isles had or have signed and or sign brings bad luck along with them!!!

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