Personally, I didn't even care much about the draft by the time it rolled around. So much had happened earlier in the day that had me distracted. New Canucks GM Jim Benning put a proverbial stamp on the team pre-draft by trading away Jason Garrison but more importantly, Ryan Kesler. Garrison's departure wasn't much of a surprise to me, as I had him as a buyout candidate over David Booth. Kesler's departure was not a surprise to me either. Ever since the rumors came out of Sochi that he had told somebody that he wanted out, and then his body language in front of camera's during interviews said it all to me. His kids were in school here? Big whoop. Not convinced. The "I don't want to talk about this anymore after this" quote back in March said it all as well. I could see it in his eyes. Long-gone was the funny Kesler that was photobombing teammates during interviews. He reminded of of Shawn Michaels. He had lost his smile. Excuse the wrestling reference.
When management said that Kesler would remain a Canuck if the right return for him in a trade was not provided I wasn't worried. Kesler always goes out there and gives 100%. But after today, I changed my mind. Kesler HAD to traded before the 2014-15 season. Here are some of the events and quotes that unfolded after the deal was struck with the Ducks.
Getting the sense it was ANA or bust for Kesler deal. Kesler perhaps not sold on PIT and CHI perhaps not sold on Kesler. No leverage for VAN— Dan Murphy (@sportsnetmurph) June 27, 2014
Exactly. And that is a shame. Make no mistake though, this is the player's right when a no-trade clause is put in their contract. I don't think Chicago had the cap space, by the way. But still, Jim Benning wasn't holding the conch here because of the slim window Kesler gave him. I'd say the GM got good return considering that fact. He got Nick Bonino, Luka Sbisa, Jared McCann (Ducks' 24th pick) and Derek Dorsett (Ducks' 85th overall pick traded to the Rangers). Not a bad return for a former Selke winner.
Kesler's agent, Kurt Overhardt has high praise for Canucks GM Jim Benning. Says Benning worked very hard with the 2 teams given (Chi-Ana).— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 27, 2014
OK, so let's get to Kesler's comments on radio after he was traded.
Here are some of his quotes that stood out to me:
"I can be a good #2 (center) behind Getzlaf." Yes, you can.
"The fact that they're gonna rebuild and looking to get younger and are years away from being a contender, you know, I just think it was time for me to move on and, you know, win and uh hopefully take home a championship."
"To me, um, it just seemed like the direction they were going..didn't sit with my career...at the end of the day I want to win a championship and I want to win it now and uh..the 4 years was a little too long for me." Really? 4 years? Nice judgement call! You are so wise, Ryan!
"Honestly, I was only asked to waive my no-trade to Anaheim." Interesting...but management begs to differ. See below.
His best memories as a Canuck: "The day I got drafted. My first goal assisted by Trevor. The 2011 Finals. They treated me extremely well."
OK, so let's hear what Jim Benning had to say about it:
Highlights of Benning's interview:
"With Ryan, when I took the job, he came to me and asked to be moved." OK, I thought Kesler said the opposite. And make no mistake, Benning's not lying here.
"He gave me a couple of teams that he would be moved to..." Again....
"I didn't want this to fester. We were hoping to get something done before the draft..." Of course, because you can get picks included in the deal, and my oh my did Benning get those!
Benning mentions how they were trying to get Kesler to expand his list of teams to be traded to but he remained steadfast on the 2 teams (Chicago and Anaheim). Chicago was in on Kesler until the end.
On Kesler's 4-year projection for the Canucks to be contenders, Benning said that Kesler never mentioned that to him. Benning said that Kesler had his reasons..but would keep it between himself and Kesler. Ooo! Read between the lines! Did he bang someone's wife? Shut the f*** up! That's not a bottom line.
"We don't want somebody that doesn't want to be here..." And there's the rub! You really don't want that. Yes, Kesler would kick ass on the ice in a Canucks uni had he not been traded, but the risk of a toxic environment in the locker room is there, and was there I am sure. At least we didn't have a repeat of the Luongo fiasco. Benning got an uninterested player the f*** out of here as quickly as possible. Good on him.
But what did Benning really think of Kesler? Maybe this will help you out. If that shiz was fake I sincerely apologize.
Benning insisted that the Canucks are re-tooling not rebuilding. Some might say there's no difference but there is. Benning wants and expects the Canucks to make the playoffs in 2014-15. There's no point in being a smartass and saying the Canucks are 4 years away. The truth is that nobody really knows. The playoffs are a beautiful beast of general unpredictability. It is for this reason that I do not wish Ryan Kesler the best of luck in Anaheim. In fact, I hope he never wins a Stanley Cup in Anaheim and retires a sad, defeated man. Harsh, right? Well he made his intentions clear and left this team. He bailed. I don't agree with his projections at all. I hope the Canucks kick Anaheim's ass every time they play them from this point-on. I want to see sad Kesler faces each time.
That being said, I can easily respect what Kesler did in a Canucks uniform. No, he did not always make players around him better, but he was and is a fearless man, which Ducks fans will soon appreciate.
Video via Samir Javer. Thanks dude!
I have to say I thought Jim Benning and the Canucks stole the day. Love the trade, picks and moves.— Darren Dutchyshen (@dutchysc) June 28, 2014