It is no secret that Vancouver Canucks center Ryan Kesler is available on the trade market. The Washington Capitals are currently searching for a second line center. Could the Capitals be interested in Kesler?
Ryan Kesler: The Good
Ryan Kesler would provide the Washington Capitals with the two-way game that he is famous for. He can be productive on both ends of the ice. His Corsi and Fenwick both suggest that he is better than the sub-50 point scorer that he has been since 2011. I think that he would thrive under head coach Barry Trotz. In Nashville, Trotz had a lot of success with guys similar to Kesler.
The Washington Capitals penalty kill needs to be improved. Ryan Kesler would definitely help with that. Kesler can also help out on the power play as well.
Ryan Kesler: The Bad
Ryan Kesler is 29, which means he might be starting to exit the prime of his career. His declining point totals suggest that could be happening right now. Perhaps the biggest problem with Kesler is his contract. He has two years remaining, with a cap hit of $5,000,000 each season. He also has a modified no trade clause, which could make it very difficult for the Capitals to get him.
Ryan Kesler won’t be cheap. Even though the Canucks basically have to trade him, plenty of other teams have already expressed interest in him. The Pittsburgh Penguins, Montreal Canadiens, St Louis Blues, and Anaheim Ducks could all be interested in trading for Kesler, along with the Washington Capitals.
Judging by the rumored offers that I’ve seen for Kesler, I think a package of Marcus Johansson, Connor Carrick, and a draft pick might be enough to get Kesler. Another possible fit could be a Troy Brouwer for Ryan Kesler trade. That would benefit both the Capitals and the Canucks, though the Canucks probably want younger players in exchange for Kesler.
If I was the GM of the Washington Capitals, my first priority would be re-signing Mikhail Grabovski. If I couldn’t re-sign him, I’d immediately kick the tires on Paul Stastny and see what kind of contract he wants. After Stastny, I’d probably be interested in Ryan Kesler. I think Kesler is a player who the Capitals should definitely consider trading for, even if they re-sign Grabovski. Granted, that would probably involve having to amnesty Brooks Laich, but I’d much rather have Kesler than Laich.
Let me know what you think in the comments!