The Anaheim Ducks, one of the main suitors in the Jason Spezza trade sweepstakes, have reached an agreement with the Vancouver Canucks that sends Nick Bonino, Luca Sbisa and the 24th overall selection in this year’s draft for Ryan Kesler. The two teams also agreed to swap third round picks in this year’s draft as well.
My immediate thought after seeing the deal was to think of how underwhelming the return for Kesler was, since many prognosticators were relaying the message that most GMs preferred Kesler to the Senators’ Jason Spezza.
Keeping that in mind, I naturally felt concerned over what the Senators could expect to receive for Spezza, but after more consideration, I am still holding out some slight hope that the Senators can fetch a better return.
For one thing, I expected the Canucks to adopt a long-term approach in any Kesler deal, by demanding high-upside prospects and a first round pick. Although they did wind up with the latter, which hilariously wasn’t even the top ten pick that the Ducks netted in the Bobby Ryan trade, with the acquisition of Sbisa (24 years of age) and Bonino (26), the Ducks wound up with NHL players who aren’t old, but don’t have the high-upside potential that you’d imagine the Canucks would be gunning for.
I suppose it’s possible that the Canucks made the deal thinking that they’re still a competitive team that can make some noise in the Western Conference with some better luck, but if Bryan Murray prefers a return that is highlighted by high-upside prospects (and he should), then I don’t know how much bearing the Kesler deal will have on Spezza’s return.
High-upside or bust Bryan Murray. Get it done.
Update: 4:30 pm
Kesler said he was asked to waive no-trade caluse only for trade to Anaheim and deal came quickly.
— Helene Elliott (@helenenothelen) June 27, 2014
If Kesler would only waive his NTC to go to Anaheim, that bodes well for the Senators since it means that the Canucks did not have much leverage to work with. Now with Kesler off the market, the Senators conceivably have one of the best remaining trade chips out there.