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Benning not worried that Kesler situation will be Luongo all over again

Jun 26, 2014, 1:22 PM EDT

Ryan Kesler Getty Images

PHILADELPHIA — Jim Benning isn’t worried about creating another patented Canucks soap opera. However, what Vancouver’s new general manager said Thursday about the possibility of trading Ryan Kesler sure did sound similar to what Benning’s predecessor, Mike Gillis, said over and over and over aaaaaaaaand over about Roberto Luongo.

“We’re talking to teams, but at the end of the day, we’re going to do what makes sense for us and to try to help Ryan out,” said Benning. “If we don’t think we can get a fair deal for him, then we’re going to keep him and he’s a Vancouver Canuck. We’re happy to have him back, because he’s a great player.”

Benning added: “We’ve had communication with [Kesler] throughout the process. We’ve talked to the agent. We’ve told him [the situation]; he understands that. He’s a professional, and he understands that part of it.”

Now, granted, Kesler’s situation has some meaningful differences to the one that kept Luongo in Vancouver long after the goalie first requested he be traded. Most importantly, Kesler’s contract doesn’t “suck”; in fact, it’s extremely attractive, with a cap hit of just $5 million for two more years.

But if the Canucks are going to trade the former Selke Trophy recipient, they’re going to need something significant in return. Certainly, more significant than what the Panthers ultimately gave up for Luongo.

And with a remark that could be seen as both a criticism of his predecessor, who couldn’t conceive a Kesler trade in March, as well as a warning that a deal may not be forthcoming this offseason, Benning had this to say:

“When you’re dealing with a player of [Kesler's] stature, at the trade deadline is when you can really do well, because those teams that feel they’re maybe one player away…could possibly give you more than you’d get in the middle of summer when they’re not playing hockey.”

It’s been reported that Chicago and Anaheim are the leading contenders to land Kesler.

Related: On the possibility of Kesler to Chicago

  1. hawksin5 - Jun 26, 2014 at 1:31 PM

    oh it will be quite similar to the luongo ordeal if he doesn’t move him tomorrow. he will get less and less of a return the longer he waits. he won’t get an offer like the pens offer at the deadline last year. and he won’t get an offer like he will now at this years deadline. and god forbid kesler gets hurt playing for Van this season…. oh boy

    • storminator16 - Jun 26, 2014 at 1:41 PM

      “he will get less and less of a return the longer he waits”

      Let’s rewind the tape for a moment: Benning doesn’t have to trade him. Kesler isn’t replaceable so the value isn’t there any way. I don’t see a problem here.

      Kesler asked for a trade and made it public (although he kept denying he asked for a trade). Not Benning’s bag. The player has his options, but the GM’s option is to keep him.

      • ikillchicken - Jun 26, 2014 at 7:15 PM

        And when Kesler walks as a free agent in only two years leaving the Canucks with nothing? Will you see the problem then? All keeping Kesler gets us is a couple more years of mediocrity at best. It’s not like we’re actually going to contend in that time even if we keep him. And then, say hello to a long loooooong rebuild when he inevitably leaves for nothing. We simply cannot afford to let that happen. Kesler is one of our few valuable assets and probably the only one we could actually trade since he wants out and will waive his NTC. I hope we can get good value for him but really, whatever we get, we need to make a deal happen. To keep him would spell absolute disaster even putting aside what a toxic situation it would be.

    • esracerx46 - Jun 26, 2014 at 1:45 PM

      He’s not a rental. So he could conceivably get a higher return at the deadline. Its also possible the Canucks don’t suck and don’t end up trading him at all.

    • salmon90 - Jun 26, 2014 at 1:48 PM

      well if his offer is the same – or worse – than the one at the deadline then why would he move him? He’s requested a trade but that doesn’t mean Benning HAS to move him. Keep him unless you get value in the return. Sutter + whatever garbage the Pens were offering is not worth it. How does that make your team better?

      • esracerx46 - Jun 26, 2014 at 2:05 PM

        Makes it cheaper and younger?

      • kitshky - Jun 26, 2014 at 2:19 PM

        … so does trading him for a couple of 3rd draft picks.

        Thanks to the previous GM he’s one of the very last chips of any value Benning and Linden have to play, they’re looking for something a little more definitive than just “cheaper and younger”.

      • elvispocomo - Jun 26, 2014 at 2:37 PM

        @esracerx46: Cheaper and younger =/= better

        The Oilers are younger, but certainly not better. they aren’t really cheaper any more either but they still are further from a playoff spot than the Canucks.

  2. McFaddensPulledHammy - Jun 26, 2014 at 2:15 PM

    All valid points. But does Benning, who is trying to establish a culture with his stamp on it in Vancouver, want to keep a player that wants out? Is there a fear that the locker room will splinter and the younger players will pick sides? There are risks/rewards to keeping Kesler. It just depends on which one Benning is willing to have more of.

    • moarjam - Jun 26, 2014 at 2:51 PM

      If a player is unhappy and asks to be moved they are generally moved. Sure, the GM doesn’t have to move him but they usually do. If not it just gets weird. Look no further than last year with Luongo…Gillis waited entirely too long and got a seriously underwhelming return that practically signed his walking papers.

    • feedmetherock - Jun 26, 2014 at 3:13 PM

      I agree. I am not sure why go to the media with this. I never understood this, if a player doesn’t want to be there, just move him and get the best package you can. Yes he is probably a professional, but is it a guarantee that Kesler’s heart will be in it if he doesn’t want to be on the team? Also, will the team even be in a spot to compete next year? Why not move him for prospects or picks that can develop and be ready to compete when the team is re-stocked. The Canucks aren’t even close to a playoff team as currently constructed. Don’t have a legit #1 goalie, the Sedin twins are shells of their former selves, don’t really have much secondary scoring depth, and the defense is lack luster at best. Instead of just grasping at straws trying to keep the seats full, they should embrace a rebuild. If they can get a 1st tomorrow and a 1st in 2015, plus a little more in the return, make the deal and restock the team. Horvat and Shinkaruk will both be close to being big contributors in 2015-2016, plus all the other picks.

  3. canada2014gold - Jun 26, 2014 at 10:07 PM

    I think he will be traded, Vancouver is in an unofficial rebuild. Who knows for what but all the haters on this site crack me up. They just hate the idea of the Canucks getting a good haul for one of our drafted and developed players. He is worth it Anaheim and Chicago fans, he is a game changer. I am going to miss number 17.

  4. ray2013 - Jun 27, 2014 at 1:58 AM

    Get a good return or wait. Makes good negotiating sense to me. He is not in his last year, so there is still going to be a lot of interested buyers as he will be more than a rental.

    • ray2013 - Jun 27, 2014 at 2:00 AM

      Ask Oiler fans about the way Pronger left town because they jumped the second Pronger wanted out. That’s what ultimately led them to their current status.

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