Feb 28, 2014; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward Ryan Kesler (17) skates with the puck against the Minnesota Wild during the first period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Kesler is one of the hot names being bandied around this year’s trade deadline. Kesler has asked the Vancouver Canucks for a trade. Trade rumor after trade rumor has almost every team checking in on Kesler. The Canucks are not openly shopping Kesler but are listening to offers.
Should the Blackhawks get involved in the Kesler trade talk?
Kesler would bring several pros to the Blackhawks. Here are three reasons why the Blackhawks should get involved in the Kesler trade talk?
1. Kesler is a two way center: The Blackhawks have been searching for a second line center for several years. Kesler would solidify this position. He is an excellent two way center. Hockey news states that Kesler “he displays both offensive acumen and shutdown capability”. The Blackhawks need someone to bring a defensive balance to its second line.
2. Kesler has size: He is 6’2 202lbs. He would give size to the second line of the Blackhawks that features Patrick Kane and Kris Vertseeg. Kane is only 5’11 and 181 lbs and Versteeg is listed at 5’11 183lbs. With his size, Kesler is a physical player who can bring some defensive prowess to an offensive second line. Currently Michal Handzus and Peter Regin split time on the second line; both are not in the same class as Kesler. Kesler is not slouch on offense either, this season he has 21 goals and 18 assists.
3. Kesler has chemistry with Patrick Kane: The Blackhawks have been searching for a player to have chemistry with Kane at center BESIDES Jonathan Toews. Kesler has proven that he can play with Kane on two occasions. Kesler and Kane were line mates in the 2010 and 2014 Olympics. In 2010, Kesler and Kane were on the ice when Team USA tied the Gold medal game and sent it overtime.
Those Pros make a strong argument for the Blackhawks to pursue Kesler, but what are the negatives of adding Kesler. Here are three cons to adding Kesler:
1. Kesler will cost way too much: Kesler is a great player; great players do not come cheap. The Canucks are going to want a KING’S RANSOM for Kesler. The rumor has it that the Canucks wants a 20-25 year old center with high upside. There is only player in the Blackhawks system that matches those criteria. That player would have to be Teuvo Teravainen. The Blackhawks will not be trading their Finnish prospect for ANYONE, not even Kesler.
2. Kesler’s salary: Kesler is due 5 million a year for the next two seasons. This might not seem like a huge amount of money but the Blackhawks still have to pay both Kane and Toews. The Blackhawks have been locking up their core players for the future; Kesler was not a part of the original plan.
3. Kesler is a declining player: Kesler registered 75 points in 2009-10, this was his best season. Since 2009-10, he recorded 2010-11 73 points and won the Selke Trophy. In 2011-12 he recorded 49 points, and the lockout shortened season he recorded only 17 points. The stats do not lie, his point totals are declining.
The argument around Kesler is moot because the Blackhawks do not make big splashes around the trade deadline. The Blackhawks augment their core with their moves at the deadline. Expect the Blackhawks to steer clear of Kesler this trade deadline.
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