The new-look Vancouver Canucks made their first big roster move, and it means one of their franchise cornerstones is heading to California.
The Canucks traded center Ryan Kesler to the Anaheim Ducks on Friday for forward Nick Bonino, defenseman Luca Sbisa and the 24th overall pick in the 2014 NHL draft, according to multiple reports. The teams also will swap third-round draft picks.
Kesler should slide nicely on the Ducks’ second line, with Ryan Getzlaf centering Anaheim’s top unit. Kesler is considered one of the NHL’s top two-way forwards, and he scored 25 goals and had 18 assists in 77 games last season with the Canucks. Kesler won the Selke Trophy as the league’s best defensive forward in 2011 and has finished in the top five in voting on three other occasions. He’s signed through the 2015-16 season with a $5 million salary-cap hit.
Canucks general manager Jim Benning received a pretty good haul in his first big move as GM, especially since Kesler’s no-trade clause limited the options. Although Bonino was just a sixth-round pick in 2007, he has developed into a solid young player. The 26-year-old Boston University product scored 22 goals and added 27 assists in his first full NHL season and is signed through 2017 with a very manageable $1.9 million cap hit.
In addition to the 24th pick acquired in this trade, Vancouver also owns the No. 6 pick. Anaheim still has the No. 10 pick, which it acquired in last year’s trade of Bobby Ryan to the Ottawa Senators.
UPDATE (3:05 p.m. ET): The Canucks officially announced the trade and clarified the third-round pick swap. Vancouver received Anaheim’s pick (No. 85 overall) in this year’s draft and sends its 2015 third-round pick to the Ducks.
UPDATE (3:19 p.m. ET): And the Canucks aren’t done dealing. They traded defenseman Jason Garrison, the rights to Notre Dame winger Jeff Costello and a 2015 seventh-round pick to the Tampa Bay Lightning for a second-round pick (No. 50) in this year’s draft. Garrison spent the previous two seasons with the Canucks after three-plus seasons with the Florida Panthers.
UPDATE (4:23 p.m. ET): Riverboat Benning strikes again, sending the third-round pick the Canucks received in the Kesler deal to the New York Rangers for winger Derek Dorsett.