May 24, 2014, 1:50 AM EST
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.
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.
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