Ryan Kesler got traded today.
No, he’s not making a comeback.
The 37-year-old hasn’t played a game in over three years, having his career cut short due to injury. But he is still getting paid, as the six-year, $41.25 million contract extension he signed back in 2015 doesn’t expire until the end of this season.
That means he’s still eligible to be traded, which is what the Anaheim Ducks did today, sending Kesler to the Vegas Golden Knights along with John Moore, in exchange for Evgenni Dadonov and a second-round pick. Kesler reportedly had to waive his no-trade clause to allow the deal to go ahead.
It was one of the latest trades ever announced on deadline day, with the Golden Knights tweeting the news more than four hours after the noon deadline passed. NHL Central Registry was apparently backed up with last-minute deals.
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) March 21, 2022
If you’re confused, that’s understandable.
Former Vancouver Canucks teammate Roberto Luongo just had to laugh about it on Twitter. We’re still waiting for Kesler’s reply.
Never easy seeing an ex-teammate get traded. Good luck in Vegas @Ryan_Kesler 🥴
— Strombone (@strombone1) March 21, 2022
Kesler was moved for salary cap purposes. He’ll remain on long term injury reserve with the Golden Knights, allowing cap-crunched Vegas to continue dipping into LTIR.
Vegas rids themselves of Dadonov’s $5 million cap hit, but have to take back Moore’s cap hit of $2.75 million, which will likely get partially buried in the minors.
It’s a deal that has some Canucks fans crying foul, as another example of a team getting away with salary cap circumvention. The Canucks are one of the few NHL teams to be penalized for cap circumvention, as the team is still being penalized over $3 million against their cap this season because Luongo retired before the end of his deal.
Luongo and Kesler were each originally signed until the end of the 2022 season.
Everyone not salty about that just sat back and enjoyed the absurdity of the situation.
John Moore and Kesler! Kesler will retire a knight! KNIGHTS LEGEND
— JonasRondbjergStan🇩🇰 (@r3nrew) March 21, 2022
Do we know what jersey number Kesler will get in Vegas?
— Kevin Doughty (@no_doughty) March 21, 2022
— connor hall (@connorhall93) March 21, 2022
The league waiting on this trade to be finalized has the same energy as when teacher is standing in front of the desk of the last kid trying to find his homework
— John Fiorino (@johnfiorino97) March 21, 2022
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