It is officially silly season in the National Hockey League as far as trade rumors go. The NHL’s trade deadline on Wednesday, March 5th is just four days away and almost every player’s name has been thrown into the rumor mill.The most recent big name to pop up in trade talks is Ryan Kesler.
The big center from the Vancouver Canucks was reportedly overheard by media members in Sochi discussing his desire to move on from Vancouver. He has since came out stating this is false, but Bob MacKenzie was on TSN Radio yesterday saying there have been several teams inquiring about Kesler.
MacKenzie went so far as to say the Canucks would be looking for a center between the age of 20-25 with upside in return. It would take more than just a young center, but that is a piece that would be required.
The Canadiens happen to have a 24 year old center in Lars Eller. Would he be the young center that Vancouver is looking for in return?
Kesler has 21 goals this season which would be second on the Habs roster behind Max Pacioretty. His 39 points would tie with with Pacioretty and P.K. Subban for tops on the Canadiens. He is a 29 year old two way center who won a Selke Trophy as the NHL’s best defensive forward in 2011.
Certainly, Kesler could help out the Canadiens, and he is signed for two more seasons at 5 million dollars per year. He scored 41 goals three seasons ago, so the Canucks won’t be giving their second line center away.
There will be several teams interested in adding Kesler, so the asking price will continue to drive through the roof. With all due respect to Eller, his name alone is not going to get the attention of Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis. Add a first round pick to Eller and there will still be several better offers on the table.
The timing for a deal like this is awful for the Habs, as Eller has just one point in his last 19 games, so trying to sell him on another team right now may be difficult.
So if the Canadiens put an offer of Eller, a first round pick and a top prospect like Sebastien Collberg together it may be enough to get Kesler out of Vancouver.
Then again, Eller did once score a goal in Vancouver from the bench.
Maybe the Canucks think Eller is some sort of magician that they must have in the future.
Of course trade demands don’t always go over well in Vancouver, just ask Roberto Luongo. So it remains possible that Kesler goes nowhere for several years.
I just think that the Canucks asking price will be far too high for Marc Bergevin to make this deal happen. Sure, he would be an upgrade on Eller, but Kesler will be 30 this offseason and has taken a beating in his short NHL career. Bergevin is a cautious GM and just won’t be giving up a solid enough package of picks and prospects to get this deal done.