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March 6, 2014 | 11:55am ET
Canucks hold on to Kesler, for now
TheFourthPeriod.com

Despite significant interest from at least two hockey clubs, the Vancouver Canucks decided to hold on to star Ryan Kesler for the rest of this season.

Whether the Canucks end up trading Kesler this summer remains to be seen, though multiple sources believe that to be the case.

Canucks GM Mike Gillis was involved in serious trade talks with the Anaheim Ducks and Pittsburgh Penguins over Kesler, who has two-years left on his current contract, beyond this season.

Both the Ducks and Penguins had presented Vancouver with offers they both felt could have gotten the deal done, but the Canucks opted against trading him within the last hour leading up to yesterday's 3pm ET trade deadline.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review had reported that the Penguins had pitched an offer of center Brandon Sutter, a first-round draft pick, a third-round draft pick and the Canucks' choice of defensemen Simon Despres or Brian Dumoulin.

However, the paper claims the Penguins felt unconvinced Vancouver ownership was willing to part with Kesler a day after trading star goalie Robert Luongo to Florida.

The Ducks, according to TFP Editor-in-Chief David Pagnotta, had presented a package that included defenseman Sami Vatanen, a first-round draft pick and another player.

"We entertained multiple offers in multiple situations and none of them fit with our long-term vision," Gillis told the media after the deadline. "When you're under-performing like we are, you get calls from lots of teams about lots of players."

Pagnotta also reported on Wednesday that teams had contacted the Canucks about defensemen Alexander Edler, Kevin Bieksa and Dan Hamhuis, all of whom have a no-trade clause in their respective contract and would have had to sign off on any deal the team tried to make.

With the Canucks battling for a playoff spot, the team decided against entertaining any serious offers for those three defensemen and chose to hold off on discussions until the off-season.

It is believed Kesler wasn't dealt primarily because ownership wants the team to remain in the hunt for a playoff position.

Several other teams had expressed interest in Kesler, but were told he would not waive his no-trade clause to go there. The Toronto Maple Leafs, Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings and Philadelphia Flyers were all rejected, despite serious interest from some.

The Detroit Red Wings were also extremely interested in Kesler, but a deal is not believed to have been as close as with Anaheim or Pittsburgh.

Kesler would have accepted a deal to Detroit.


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