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.
Can the Flyers find a defenseman?
•Broad Street HockeyThere are a few of defenseman available at the deadline, but are any worth the price?
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:
Mckenzkie "Flyers would be more inclined to trade B. Schenn and not Couturier"— Hope_Smoke (@Hope_Smoke) March 3, 2014
Mckenzie "the Canucks are asking for a 20-25 established NHL C, a top prospect (preferably a forward) and a 1st round pick for Kesler"— Hope_Smoke (@Hope_Smoke) March 3, 2014
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:
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.