Thoughts on Kevin Bieksa and Ryan Kesler

Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

By Scott Rosenhek

Well, you can tell it’s the end of May. I haven’t posted in a while since the news well for the Canucks has dried up. Unfortunately, this is what happens when your favourite team finishes in the basement in the NHL. The point of this is not to lament on a lost season, but to talk about something I noticed today.

For anyone unaware, the Anaheim Ducks were eliminated on Monday in a game that Nashville did not deserve to win. The Predators were outshot 41-18, yet they won 6-3 thanks to a poor game by Jonathan Bernier. As everyone (including myself) loves to mention, the Ducks could have had Ryan Miller at the deadline for a cheap price.

Then, this tweet had come out today:

For some Canucks fans this may sting. Maybe you feel that these two don’t feel that the cup run in Vancouver was important to them. That after being traded, they left everything behind, including those old playoff memories.

And I can understand the apathy Canucks fans may have towards Ryan Kesler after his departure. He was selfish and created a no-win situation in keeping him, despite how much he accomplished for this team.

There is also the argument that he has the right to try and win a Stanley Cup and at the time of the trade, Vancouver was not going to be that team. What really rubs Canucks fans the wrong way is the fact that the return we got for Ryan Kesler was nowhere close to being fair after three years. Jim Benning’s hands were tied since Kesler had a one team trade list.

For Kevin Bieksa, it is a different story. Canuck fans are still hopeful that he has the chance to win a Stanley Cup. Kevin Bieksa is still beloved to this day and it’s a shame for some fans to see him fail to find success. Bieksa was willing to be traded to another team to benefit the Canucks, just like Jannik Hansen and Alex Burrows.

I think the biggest reason why this loss hits these two players so hard is their window to win the Stanley Cup is closing and for Kevin Bieksa, it may just be over. Bieksa is turning 36 and there have been rumblings that the Ducks will need to buy out the final year of his contract.

The Ducks will lose one of their top 4 defenseman either through trade or the expansion draft, unless the team pressures Bieksa to waive his No-Movement-Clause to be exposed to Las Vegas in June. The team is pressed for cap space, with 4 more years of Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Kesler making a combined $23.75 million. Perry is a shadow of his former self and who knows when Getzlaf and Kesler are next. All three players are 32 and likely will not get better from here.

Anaheim was eliminated in the first round last year and lost in the Conference Finals to the Blackhawks in 2015. That’s three cracks at a Stanley Cup with Ryan Kesler and the team could not even make it to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Regardless of what you think of either player, these guys want to win. And I feel for them because they will likely retire without a Stanley Cup, just like the Sedins. And if you are in the camp that Ryan Kesler never cared about Vancouver based on how he acted, I’ll leave you with this picture. This is a guy who did what he could to win for his team. And at one time, that was for us.



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