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Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Canucks still taking calls on Ryan Kesler

By Pierre LeBrun



With the Roberto Luongo stunner out of the way (a deal that didn’t start until Monday afternoon but was completed Tuesday afternoon), the Vancouver Canucks continued to take calls on Ryan Kesler on the eve of the trade deadline.

A source once again reminded us Tuesday night that the Canucks don’t have to necessarily move him now, as they can wait until June.

Why wait though if the interest is good enough.

The Pittsburgh Penguins -- it’s no secret -- have interest and a source said they once again spoke with Vancouver on Tuesday. ... But to what degree it advanced the discussion, it wasn’t clear.

There’s a sizeable list of teams that have kept tabs on Kesler, including the Anaheim Ducks, who have a number of young assets that might interest the Canucks.

Of course, you wonder would the Canucks really trade Kesler within the same division? The answer we got from one source with knowledge of the situation is that the Canucks don’t care what team it is, they’ll take the best package if it fits their needs.

Kesler of course controls much of his fate via his no-trade clause and there’s a select group of teams he’d rather go to.

I believe both Pittsburgh and Anaheim are among those teams, as well as Detroit.

The Rangers expressed interest in Kesler, but a source confirmed to ESPN New York's Katie Strang that he would not waive his no-trade clause to go to New York.

We’ll see on Wednesday whether Kesler moves or the Canucks wait until the offseason.

Staying on the Penguins, if the Kesler thing never comes through, a cheaper option up front remains Ales Hemsky from the Oilers. The Penguins and Oilers have spoken about that possibility. Although again, one assumes Pittsburgh would want to see the Kesler situation through first.

Wild get their man


In the end, the Minnesota Wild threw a curveball by acquiring Ilya Bryzgalov.

But the truth is, he’s cheaper salarywise and capwise than Jaroslav Halak or Martin Brodeur, which is certainly a large part of why the Wild went this route.

It’s also because Wild GM Chuck Fletcher had Bryzgalov when he was breaking into pro hockey back in their Anaheim days. So he knows him.

But the reality is that match on the cap was a huge factor here, allowing Minnesota some room Wednesday to do something else if it sees another trade that makes sense.

The Wild also looked at Viktor Fasth, a source said. He ended up in Edmonton on Tuesday instead, a real nice pick-up for the Oilers in my mind.