It has been six years since Ryan Kesler forced his way out of Vancouver. Kesler went from fan-favorite in Vancouver to most wanted in no time. And there are still Canucks fans upset over his departure. Although Kesler played a huge role during his tenure in Vancouver, everything was quickly overshadowed by a business decision that did not pan out for him.
The Falling Out
After a decade of Canucks fans cheering Kesler’s every move, things shifted fast when Kesler asked to be traded from the spiraling Canucks organization. After coming within one win of the Stanley Cup and Vancouver not heading in a winning direction, Kesler felt continuing his career elsewhere would be best for him. He would have his request met after the 2013-2014 season when the Canucks shipped Kesler and a third-round pick to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Nick Bonino, Luca Sbisa, and a first and third-round pick.
Post-Kesler’s departure, the Canucks would tumble down the standings, while Kesler and the Ducks would make two Conference Finals in three seasons. Although Kesler has managed to avoid the Stanley Cup in Anaheim, some Canucks fans are still filled with hate. And they are not afraid to let him know, showering him with boos when he steps onto the Rodgers Arena ice wearing orange.
Although the Kesler trade has a quite complex trade tree that could still grow. And many players acquired made an impact in one way or another. The two main players acquired at the time of the trade Nick Bonino and Luca Sbisa. Who would both have relatively short stints in Vancouver.
Sbisa played three seasons with the Canucks before being selected by the Las Vegas Golden Knights in the 2017 expansion draft.
Bonino was the main piece in a trade with Pittsburgh that saw Brandon Sutter and a third-round draft pick to Vancouver. The pick acquired in the Bonino trade would be used to draft Will Lockwood out of Michigan.
The Ducks sent a third-round draft pick to Vancouver in the Kesler trade. That pick would be swapped for enforcer Derek Dorsett. Dorsett would be forced to retire in 2017 due to injury.
The first-round pick the Canucks received from the Ducks would be used to draft Jared McCann. McCann spent one season with Vancouver before getting traded to Florida along with a second and fourth-round pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. The Canucks received former third overall pick Erik Gudbranson and a fifth-round pick.
The fifth-round pick from Florida was used to draft Cole Candella. Candella was never signed and now plays in Denmark.
Erik Gudbranson in Vancouver would prove to be disastrous. In three seasons with Canucks, Gudbranson would not reach the 60-game mark and only totalled 19 points in Vancouver. During the 2019 season, the Canucks would strike a deal with the Penguins, trading Gudbranson straight across for Tanner Pearson.
As Canucks fans are upset with Kesler still, it’s time to forgive him. Six years later and Kesler’s career is likely over due to injury. The trade resulted in the addition of Tanner Pearson, Brandon Sutter, and prospect Will Lockwood. Kesler did great things in Vancouver. Kesler is the only Canucks player to win the Frank J. Selke trophy. He played 10 seasons with Canucks totaling 393 points in 655 games. Kesler was a fan-favorite during his tenure in Vancouver and should be remembered for the years of joy he brought to Vancouver. Not the months of pain for him wanting a fresh start.
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