According to a report, Vancouver Canucks center Ryan Kesler wants to be traded and “only wants to go to either” the Blackhawks or Pittsburgh Penguins.
Kesler, who will turn 30 at the end of August, has two years remaining on a deal with a $5M cap hit. Since Vancouver played in the 2011 Cup Final, Kesler has posted 49 and 43 points in two 77-game (non-lockout) regular seasons; he had 75 and 73 points in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons, respectively, and played 82 games in each of those campaigns.
He won 52.6 percent of more than 1,400 faceoffs this past season, and was credited with 98 hits, 45 blocked shots and 31 takeaways. The winner of the 2011 Selke Trophy averaged 2:12 of short-handed ice time last year, the most of any Vancouver forward.
If Kesler has indeed requested a trade to only Chicago or Pittsburgh, that hurts the Canucks’ leverage in negotiations with either team. Unfortunately for Vancouver, both teams have issues with the cap moving forward.
As we pointed out when discussing the potential for Jason Spezza to be a trade target, the key number with any significant transaction for the Hawks this summer is the impact the addition will have on the cap in 2015-16 – when the new contracts of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane (and Brandon Saad) hit the books. Unlike Spezza, Kesler would make a $5M dent in the Hawks’ future cap room.