Friday, June 27, 2014

Ryan Kesler Swatch Card

Apologies to James Neal, but the biggest trade of the day was Ryan Kesler's. And I say this despite the fact that I'd welcome Neal on my hometown Montréal Canadiens more easily than Kesler at present time.

Neal can score 30 goals with any center, and 40 with any pure passer, but Kesler gives the Anaheim Ducks the best one-two punch at center in the Western Conference, and the rarity of having both he and Ryan Getzlaf being right-handed shots; and the Vancouver Canucks got a ton of assets back: Nick Bonino, poised to become a permanent fixture on any team's top-6, Luca Sbisa who at worst is an overpaid #6 defenseman but still has the potential to become a solid #2 or 3 guy, and Anaheim's first-round pick (24th overall) and third-round pick (85th), which they sent to the New York Rangers for Derek Dorsett.

So, a potential 70-point man (at worst a 50-point top-6 guy), a potential #2 defenseman (at worst a #6), a first rounder, and a grinder who happens to be a Stanley Cup finalist - for one Selke winner, with the cap hits almost evening out. A lot of folks are yelling in Vancouver right now, but Jim Benning just laughed this one all the way to the bank. I'm a little skeptical about the Jason Garrison trade, but he had become expendable after Sbisa's acquisition, and he got a top-50 pick for him -  which could turn out ok - in addition to freeing up cap space right now.

Kesler, like everyone on the Canucks, had a pretty disappointing 2013-14 season, though he did manage to net 25 goals; his 43 points are his lowest total since 2007-08, however, and was his second consecutive less-than-50-point season in a row, the locked-out 2012-13 notwithstanding, where he merely played 17 games (13 points) anyway.

It remains to be seen who'll play on his wing, though, but I'm fairly confident he'll get his numbers back up, perhaps not to the 70-point level, but probably at least in the 25-goal, 30-assist range. This card, like the one I featured in March, shows him wearing the Canucks' white (away) uniform, though the all-blue swatch could be from the blue (home) uniform:
It's from Panini's 2010-11 Limited set (card #79 of the set, a beautiful foil card numbered 104/199).

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