The Ryan Kesler (potential) sweepstakes have garnered plenty of attention in this offseason. And the Chicago Blackhawks apparently continue to be part of the conversation.
ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, citing sources, wrote Tuesday that the Blackhawks and the Anaheim Ducks are among the top contenders for Kesler’s services. Bruce Garrioch out of Ottawa said last week that the Blackhawks were in the running — he said the Pittsburgh Penguins were there, too — in regards to the Vancouver Canucks center.
I wrote in this space last weekend that Kesler, on paper, would be a great fit for the Blackhawks in terms of filling that second-line center role and playing with Patrick Kane as the two having built chemistry in international play.
Once again, however, what about the price that will have to be paid to get Kesler? It’s going to be plenty, folks. As the Vancouver Province’s Ben Kuzma said in his podcast last week (speaking of a potential scenario with the Ducks), it could be a high first-round draft pick from this season and an established — key word there, established — wing and center. When Vancouver’s new general manager Jim Benning was hired in May, he told the media that, “I like this team. I like the core players. This is a team we can turn around in a hurry.” If Benning is going that route, he’s not going to be looking for a lot of draft picks and guys ready in a few years.
Yes, Patrick Sharp’s name has been thrown out as a trade possibility. You take talk for what it is at this time of year. But even if he’s a potential piece, the Canucks will want more and they’ll want youth. Again, I think the Blackhawks should stay away from getting rid of that youth for Kesler who, while a great talent, is a talent who’s been banged up plenty these past few seasons.
Who knows what may transpire over the next few days. Kesler is a pivotal piece and he’ll have his choice of suitors. I’ll stick with my previous opinion: if it’s a high price, it’s probably not worth paying.