The Vancouver Canucks have traded Ryan Kesler to Anaheim for Nick Bonino and Luca Sbisa and a 24th pick in today’s NHL Draft.
News first broke that Kesler wanted out of Vancouver back in February. Today, Ryan Kesler got his wish.
Centre Nick Bonino comes at a cap hit of $1.9M until the 2016-17 season, while Defenceman Luca Sbisa comes $2.175M with one year left on his contract. With the hit of $5M for Kesler, this means the Canucks actually gain $925,000 along with an extra roster player and another first round draft pick.
The teams also traded third round draft picks, with the Canucks giving their 2015 pick and Anaheim giving their 2014 pick.
Bonino, 26, was drafted by the San Jose Sharks 173rd overall in the 2007 NHL Draft and was traded to the Anaheim Ducks in 2009 where he signed a two-year entry-level contract. In 77 games played in the 2013-14 NHL season, Bonino scored 22 goals and 27 assists for 49 points. In comparison, Kesler scored 25 goals and 18 assists in the same amount of games.
Sbisa, 24, was drafted 19th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2008 NHL Draft, where he signed a three-year entry-level contract. In 2009, Sbisa, along with Joffrey Lupul, was traded to the Anaheim Ducks. In 2011, he signed a four-year contract extension with the Ducks worth $8.7 million. In 30 games played with Anaheim last season, Sbisa recorded 1 goal and 5 assists along with 43 penalty minutes.
Whether anyone admits it or not, trading Kesler, 29, signals a rebuild for the Canucks, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
We may not know the whole reason why Kesler wanted out, but it appears like he wanted a chance to win a Stanley Cup and didn’t see that opportunity in Vancouver for the foreseeable future.
Kesler, the longest tenured Canuck not named Sedin, was drafted 23rd overall by the Canucks in 2003. He made his NHL debut in November of that year and has been a warrior for the franchise for 11 seasons.
The Canucks’ rise to prominence mirrored Kesler’s rise as he was Mr. Everything for Vancouver. Kesler played in all situations and has been one of the most important players for the team for the last six years.
Kesler leaves the Canucks ranking 11th in career points, 11th in career goals and 10th in career games played.
His crowning achievement came during the near-dream season in 2010-11. Kesler scored 41 goals, won a Selke Trophy and was a force during the playoffs. Many will remember his 11 point performance where he torched the Nashville predators during the 2011 playoffs. I will also remember him shutting down Jonathan Toews in 2011 in the playoffs versus Chicago and his game tying goal with 14 seconds left while playing on one leg in game 5 against San Jose.
Feature Image: Vancouver Canucks