It’s been an anxious few days for Anaheim Ducks fans as they eagerly await the news that Ryan Kesler will be moving to Orange County.
Unfortunately for fans of the big webbed ‘D’, a deal has yet to happen. But if fans think the past few days were bad, today should send their blood pressures through the roof and into the great beyond.
The 2014 NHL Draft kicks off tonight at 4 p.m. PT at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The Ducks currently hold two picks in the first round, No. 10 and No. 24. But will they have both selections by the time the clock strikes four?
There is no doubt in my mind that the Vancouver Canucks are asking a hefty price for Kesler. A hefty price would include one, if not both, of those first round slots the Ducks currently possess.
And if the reports are true that new Canucks’ GM Trevor Linden is indeed looking to move up to select No. 1 in tonight’s draft, the team that could be putting a kink in any possible deal is the Florida Panthers as they are the ones sitting in that spot as we speak.
If the Canucks want the No. 1 pick, the Panthers, a team in desperate need of young talent, will want some first round picks in return. And that’s where Anaheim comes in.
With two picks in the first round, the Ducks could send picks No. 10 and No. 24 and maybe a prospect or an NHL-ready forward such as Emerson Etem or Rickard Rakell for Kesler. In turn, Vancouver could send those acquired picks or players to Florida for the No. 1 spot.
The Canucks and Panthers have some recent history as far as trades go. A once-heralded “savior” in Vancouver, goaltender Roberto Luongo was shipped to the Sunshine State this past March. Despite being in his mid-30s, Luongo will be someone the Panthers will want to build around. And what better way to build your team than with top draft picks, exactly what the Ducks have.
Fans can get mad and upset all they want about a deal not getting done yet, but these things are much more complicated than you think. It’s not like NHL 14 where you can turn off “fair trades” and send a 7th-round pick and a low-end prospect for Kesler. And when it comes to draft time, it complicates things even more.
Ducks’ general manager Bob Murray is a few days removed from being named “General Manager of the Year.” He was given that title for a reason. Murray has stockpiled young talent that can produce in the NHL quicker than other teams’ veterans. That was evident this past season as young guys such as Hampus Lindholm, Frederik Andersen, John Gibson, and Sami Vatanen stepped up in key spots and contributed. Don’t forget Etem, Rackell, and Devante Smith-Pelly.
So trust Bob Murray. He knows what he’s doing. I don’t think he’ll ruin the farm, give away draft picks for nothing, or make a trade that will hurt the team now and in the future.
That’s the beauty of what Murray has done here. How can a trade for Kesler be considered a bad move? The Ducks are so loaded in the farm that Murray can make these kinds of deals right now. He can bring in star players to help the Ducks win their second Stanley Cup. And that’s what fans ultimately want.
The opportunity is there to acquire a player that could be the missing piece to the playoff-run puzzle. Everyone in Anaheim is still shaken up about two straight Game 7 losses. And that is not the trend the Ducks want to keep up. So what’s the harm in adding a big-time player like Kesler?
The talent is already in Anaheim to have another stellar season. Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry are in their primes. Everyone should be comfortable with the netminders as both Andersen and Gibson have proven to be ready for a full-time job, and the farm system is more than capable of filling in when needed.
So why not pull the trigger? Do you want the “future” or the Stanley Cup?
After witnessing the Los Angeles Kings win their second Stanley Cup in three seasons, the latter is what Ducks fans should want.
It’s what I want.
It’s exactly what Bob Murray wants. And he’ll do whatever he can to make that happen.
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