The Vancouver Canucks are trying to trade malcontent center Ryan Kesler ahead of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft in Philadelphia, Pa. on Friday night. While it was reported Wednesday that the Canucks were feeling underwhelmed by the offers for Kesler, recent developments suggest that this new Canucks management team may have more success moving a star player at this year's draft, than their predecessors had in Newark, N.J. last June.
"There's a heightened sense of urgency," TSN's Darren Dreger reported on an NHL Draft Preview segment at TSN.ca on Thursday afternoon, "and some close to the situation believe that a trade will happen within the next 24 hours."
In an appearance on Vancouver sports talk radio station the Team 1040 shortly thereafter, Dreger's colleague Bob McKenzie suggested that something on the Kesler market has shifted substantially over the past 24 hours. He hasn't quite pinned down what the substantial something is, however:
I do get the sense that something has happened in the last 24 hours that has accelerated the timetable a little bit. There's never any guarantee a deal gets done on anybody's timetable, but there is a sense that this thing could get done (some time between now and the draft on Friday night).
So that means one of two things happened in my mind. Either one of the Chicago Blackhawks or Anaheim Ducks - the two teams that were really front and center... have altered their offers and made things a little more interest for the Vancouver Canucks or... maybe somebody from outside the pack has come in, and maybe it's something that Ryan Kesler is prepared to listen to over and above some of the teams on his original six team list...
Whatever it is, something has happened in the last 24 hours to lead us to believe that the likelihood of a Kesler trade is more likely than it was (yesterday).
Whether the Ducks or Blackhawks have sweetened the pot - and it doesn't seem as if the Ducks have - or a classic "mystery team" has entered the fray and complicated things, one thing is clear: there are a number of clubs that would love to add the former Selke-winner and U.S. Olympian. That's apparently what's shaking up this process, according to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun.
LeBrun also described a "stand off" between the Canucks and Kesler over the narrow exclusivity of his list on an Insider Trading segment at TSN.ca on Thursday evening.
The problem for those clubs (and for Vancouver to some extent), is that Kesler's contract has a full no-trade clause. He still gets to press send on any deal that he's involved in. Kesler's list is more exclusive than what you'd find at a trendy club, though that hasn't stopped teams from going to great lengths to get in:
With the draft set to kick off in slightly over 24 hours, Kesler's status appears to be the big domino. Will he fall this time around, or will Vancouver's inability to move him hold up the market as it reportedly did at the 2014 NHL trade deadline?