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Guelph, ON • Canada • 26 Years Old • Male

Why Ryan Kesler?

Posted 12:10 AM ET | Comments 7
There have been a great many Sundin-rumours thrown around of late, but there is one that leaves me scratching my head. Sundin to Vancouver for a package headlined by Ryan Kesler. Why Ryan Kesler? Why is he the important piece to centre a deal around? I've seen him play and he doesn't stand out to me as an impact player. When people start talking about him like he's a serious prospect... uh.... I'm afraid not. Kesler seems to have stalled in his offensive development and frankly he looks more like a grinder than anything else. People defend him by citing ''Offensive Potential"... well just for reference, Patrick Stefan had "offensive potential", famous Leaf's flop Alyn McCauley had "offensive potential". Offensive potential means jack until it is capitalized on. Kesler is being paid 1.75m this year (as a result of Bobby Clarke) and is on pace to produce 35pts. Nik Antropov is being paid 1.95m this year and is on pace for 60pts. What seems like better value? The 'new' NHL is about finding guys who are outperforming or living up to their contracts, not finding guys who are payed more than they contribute. Besides, why would the Leafs need Ryan Kesler anyways... the roster is filled with guys who can contribute on the 3rd line: Steen, Stajan, Ponikarovsky, Kilger, Devereaux.

I know if I haven't been jumped on by 'Nucks fans yet, I will be for this one... Matt Stajan and Kesler are essentially equals... I might even prefer Stajan given how much leadership he's shown this year. Let's compare:

Stajan: 24, 6'1" 200lb
Kesler: 23, 6'2" 205lb

Stajan: 290gp 52g 66a 118pts +14 143pim
Kesler: 213gp 31g 37a 68pts -1 176pim

There is precious little physical difference between the two whereas the statistical difference would be about a season's worth of games (belying Stajan's extra year) and forty points. For those people who are about to mention Kesler's two way ability doesn't translate into stats, look at the plus minus difference. Kesler, who has Luongo between the pipes is a minus, where Stajan who's had to deal with Raycroft and burned out Eddie Belfour is a plus. Not so big a gap is there? In fact, the largest gap would be between the respective salaries with Stajan making a rather modest 950,000 to Kesler's 1.75m.

The point of this article is not really to criticize Ryan Kesler. I actually like Ryan Kesler, and think he is a very good player. He's a solid, two-way player with impressive defensive acumen, edge to his game and the versatility to play centre or wing. He provides an element that every real Cup contender should have. That's not a bad thing at all... what I AM saying is that fans who keep looking at giving up Kesler as giving up a future need to relax and actually see the player for what he is and what he is not. He is not an upgrade on what the Leafs already have in Matt Stajan and Alex Steen. That is the basis of my objections to Kesler being such an integral part of any Sundin deal.
Filed Under:   Kesler   Sundin   Stajan   Leafs   Canucks  
February 14, 2008 12:37 AM ET | Delete
I agree totally, why do people think kesler is this wonder player....... He is not not 1st or 2nd line potential, he will be stuck on the 3rdl ine no matter hwat team he plays for. Toronto has a good 3rd liner in Stajan. Sundin's trade would be a bust and wasted on Kesler as the headliner. From Vancouver, Toronto should rather look at D in Bieksa or Elder and maybe Bourdon (but he is not showing why he is a good player at least not yet). Potentially Toronto wants in the Sundin trade is a very good young 1st or 2nd line potential, preferably center to replace Sundin (ex. Carter from philly) or a defensive defenseman. Sundin Owes nothing to Toronto, He does not have to waive his NTC. He wants to retire as a leaf and he should. If thats his wishes you should respect and not turn on him because of what he could have given you. If you wanted Kesler then would have been a bad trade. If Anaheim wants him first thing is to ask for edmonton first rounder and bobby ryan. So potentially oyu could have doughty and stamkos. If trading with philly ask for carter. For Calgary - Boyd, and others. SHarks Segtouchi, If New York Rangers come knocking ask for Staal and cherapanov.I am a Habs fan but also I kno my NHL.
February 14, 2008 12:43 AM ET | Delete
I couldn't agree more that Sundin owes nothing to the Leafs. If he chooses to not waive his clause, I will be disappointed, but I will not hold it against him. Darcy Tucker, Pavel Kubina and Bryan McCabe however, are NOT Mats Sundin. I WILL hold it against them should they choose to remain in Toronto if given the chance to be dealt, because it is primarily on THEM that this team sucks. THEY are the veteran leadership upon which this team is built, and if the team is not playing well its because THEY haven't met expectations. Sundin owes the team nothing, but they sure as hell do.
February 14, 2008 2:14 PM ET | Delete
Couldn't agree more. The leafs have an abundance of 3rd liners, with only a few players in the system that show any offensive abilities. If Mats goes, Trader Cliff better make sure there is some speed and some scoring ability coming back the other way. I would love to see Tucker sent to Calgary for Boyd, sounds like a decent fit to me. Tucker is from out west, Calgary is going for a playoff push and a change in scenery might do the man some good.
February 14, 2008 4:00 PM ET | Delete
I agree with your comment that Kesler is not a piece that the leafs need right now, they should be looking to getting speed and offence.Also you called McCauley a flop? He had injuries everytime he was about to shine, also if you remember playoffs of 02 when Sundin went down with an injury he was second in point on the leafs with 15 in 20 games. Quinn for some reason didnt like him.
February 14, 2008 4:04 PM ET | Delete
Calgary doesn't want to pick up contracts for next year with Huselius and/or Langkow to sign, so a Tucker for Boyd won't happen, however that's not to say that Boyd couldn't be an important piece of a Sundin trade. I call McCauley a flop because that playoff was all he ever showed, even when given the opportunity to be the 2nd line centre above Robert Reichel. I deeply sympathize with him for his injury troubles but realistically he just was not getting where he needed to offensively.
February 14, 2008 11:38 PM ET | Delete
You know, I've had the same thought. I heard Jeff Carter associated with Mats Sundin then people says Kesler could be the piece coming from Vancouver..wha??? I think that part is all speculation though. Could it be mainly that Toronto and Vancouver just don't match up well so this is the most "logical" name to be thrown out there?
February 15, 2008 2:26 AM ET | Delete
I've long suspected this to be so... I don't believe in Corey Schneider either... he's essentially Justin Pogge... plain and simple, he's the same age, with the same upside and the same chance of reaching his potential. Why would we get another guy like that? bah!
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