Flyers trade rumors: The Ryan Kesler talk is apparently real

Ben Nelms

The Flyers apparently have some real interest in Ryan Kesler, but what would it take to get a deal done, and why would Paul Holmgren be interested in another center when he's already stockpiled them?

The Penguins are the top suitor for Canucks center Ryan Kesler, and that makes a ton of sense: After their top two lines, led by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the Penguins are pretty thin. They basically get all of their scoring from maybe five guys, and adding Kesler would give them some much needed depth. After all, recent playoff years have proven that 87 and 71 can get shut down in a short playoff series, so they'll probably need some extra scoring punch.

Kesler heading to Pittsburgh makes sense, and Ray Shero is reportedly doing everything he can to get a trade done. Two days before the deadline, though, he's worried about his friends from the not-crappy part of Pennsylvania swooping in and acquiring their target. Via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, emphasis ours:

As of Monday afternoon, nothing has changed on the situation- except that the Penguins feel division rival Philadelphia, in addition to defending champion Chicago, is emerging as a top challenger to acquire Kesler.

Kesler does have a movement clause in his contract, as did Jarome Iginla, who famously picked the Penguins over the Bruins last season.

However, the Penguins feel that Kesler, if he does want out of Vancouver, prefers their situation as an immediate and longer-term Cup contender in an Eastern Time Zone city.

Okay. It's no secret that the Flyers like Kesler. Bob Clarke signed him to an offer sheet in 2006, and sure, he's not the general manager anymore, but his influence still runs deep, and just look at the Flyers recent history. From Peter Forsberg to Mike Richards to Brayden Schenn to Claude Giroux to Sean Couturier to Scott Laughton, solid two-way centers are what the Flyers have built their team around for at least a decade. They really like players like Ryan Kesler.

But see, that's precisely the reason a trade for Kesler doesn't make sense right now. They have way too many guys like Ryan Kesler, except the guys they have are all younger and cheaper (and in Giroux's case, better). The only way a trade for Kesler makes any sense at all is if one of those young centers is going the other way, and ... well .... here are some quotes from TSN's Bob McKenzie today:

That's a high asking price. For the Flyers, it'd probably mean Brayden Schenn, somebody like Nick Cousins, and their first round pick for Kesler, and that ... just doesn't seem necessary. The Flyers don't need Kesler, and unless they've really soured on Schenn, it just feels ...  dumb.

So is there more to it?

Some of the BSH staff had a speculative chat this afternoon about what could possibly push this into "makes sense" territory. Summary: they'd have to add Alex Edler, a defenseman, to this right? And does Schenn make sense at all? Here's the chat:

Travis H.
does anybody have ryan kesler thoughts? i'm writing something since it's apparently a real thing the Flyers have interest in
my basic thoughts are: WE ALREADY HAVE ALL THE FRIGGIN TWO WAY CENTERS
4:35 PM
Kevin C.
we already have Vinny playing out of position
Charlie O.
yeah. love Kesler, and he would bring some much needed speed to the lineup
Kevin C.
Also Couts is already our shutdown guy
Charlie O.
but aside from that I can think of no real justification other than "oooh Ryan Kesler!"
Collin M.
well..
travis, you're right.
only reason i can see kesler coming to philly is if they move couturier to van
kesler + edler for couturier + + + + + +
giroux - kesler - laughton?
or giroux - vinny - kesler - laughton
Kurt R.
if it's actually true
then my best guess is that it means they aren't high on brayden schenn anymore
Charlie O.
psssh you mean Kesler - Schenn - Couturier - Laughton
because obviously Giroux is going the other way
Collin M.
i say couturier instead of schenn because schenn can't fill that shutdown role.
and can laughton come in next season and take it by the reins? idk.
4:40 PM
Collin M.
every other situation i'd say the flyers are shopping schenn instead.
but for van/kesler.. couturier fits.
of course i wouldn't swap the two. i'd need edler, in which case it's a blockbuster.
Kurt R.
idk, schenn is a good old western canada boy
(you're probably right)
Collin M.
i hate speculating. but i don't see anything involving kesler and schenn coming to fruition.
4:45 PM
Collin M.
as long as we have giroux couturier and laughton, we don't need a 2 way center. couturier gone opens that spot.
and i don't think laughton + whatever is enough to pry kesler out of vancouver.
Kevin C.
can't disagree with Collin here
makes sense

Personally, the only way my eyes even open to a Kesler trade is if Alex Edler's coming back, because it actually touches a need the Flyers have. And even then, this all still feels uncomfortable and kind of unnecessary.

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