Canucks Ship Out Kesler, Garrison

USATSI_7876789_154158418_lowresThe Vancouver Canucks have made some moves on Friday that offer an indication as to the future of the franchise and the direction of this hockey club.

Forward Ryan Kesler was traded to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Nick Bonino, Luca Sbisa and a pair of draft picks. The Canucks also sent a third-round draft pick to the Ducks as part of the exchange.

Kesler has two years left on his contract and carries a $5 million hit annually, something the Canucks will be glad to be free of. Kesler had to waive his no-trade clause to get out of Vancouver, something he likely had no trouble doing.

“I’m turning 30 and not only do I want to win the Stanley Cup, I want to be a big part of winning the Stanley Cup,” said Kesler. “I’m not getting any younger. I want to win a championship. With the direction [Vancouver] is going I think us and management just made a decision that it was time to move on.”

Kesler met with new Canucks general manager Jim Benning following the season and realized that the future of the franchise, at least the immediate future, was not one geared toward winning the ultimate prize. Instead, this is a club in the throes of a rebuild.

“Last year, that season was tough on all the players that play for the Canucks, and me no differently,” Kesler said. “I hate losing and that season was painful, to be honest. The fact that they’re in a rebuild and looking to get younger and are years away from being a contender, I think it was just time for me to move on and win and hopefully take home a championship.”

Kesler will likely suit up as the second line centre in Anaheim, playing behind Ryan Getzlaf in the depth chart.

Defenceman Jason Garrison also won’t be part of the rebuild. He was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for the rights to Jeff Costello and a draft pick. Like Kesler, Garrison was asked to waive his no-trade clause.

“When it all kind of happened I was shocked and I didn’t want to go anywhere else. I only signed here two years ago and wanted to be here the whole time for sure,” Garrison said.

This is all part of “getting younger” for the Canucks. In Costello, the club has a 23-year-old with four years of experience at the University of Notre Dame. And Bonino injects some youth at the centre position. He had 49 points in 77 games last season and has thus far spent his entire career with the Ducks.

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