In the end, the
Kesler plays with a physical edge that the Ducks desperately need in the playoffs against the likes of the Kings and Chicago. The former Selke Trophy winner with the
On Friday, Anaheim sent defenseman
Hours later, the Ducks stayed on the physical theme, taking left wing Nick Ritchie of Peterborough of the Ontario Hockey League at No. 10 overall at the
"I just think we're a better team than we were yesterday," Ducks General Manager
The Ducks thought they were on the verge of acquiring Kesler at the trade deadline in March, only to have the deal collapse at the last minute. But Kesler made it clear he didn't want to go through a rebuilding process with the Canucks, and new management in Vancouver accommodated him.
"Last year, that season was tough on all the players on the Canucks," Kesler said in a conference call. "I hate losing. That season was painful, to be honest. The fact that they are in a rebuild and are looking to get younger and are years away from being a contender, I think it was just time for me to move on and win and hopefully take home a championship.
"I'm turning 30. Not only do I want to win the Stanley Cup, but I want to be a big part of winning a Stanley Cup. I'm not getting any younger. I want to win a championship."
The Ducks were in serious need of a quality No. 2 center after they opted not to bring back veteran
Kesler's gritty style has exacted a price in terms of injuries. His numbers have dropped from 73 points in the 2010-11 season to 43 this past season. He had shoulder surgery after the Canucks lost to the Kings in the first round of the playoffs in 2012.
Murray was aware of the risk but was prepared to take it.
"Because of the way he plays, he plays so hard, there's going to be injuries," he said. "We want him to play that way. We understand there could be injuries along the way. He's the type of guy we need in the playoffs, let's put it that way."
Kesler, who had a no-trade clause, had two teams on his list — Anaheim and Chicago.
Bonino, who was the Ducks' third-leading scorer last season with 82 points, was not entirely surprised. The Ducks had been linked to Kesler and
"I know they were players with Spezza and Kesler," Bonino said on a conference call. "It's something you're prepared for a little bit. That being said, as much as you think you're prepared, when that call actually comes, it's a bit of a shock."
The swap of third-round draft choices will mean that the Ducks will get Vancouver's third-round pick in 2015. The Canucks will take Anaheim's 85th overall selection this year.
The Kings made an interesting gamble with the 29th pick — taking 17-year-old forward Adrian Kempe of Sweden, who doesn't turn 18 until Sept. 13. Under NHL draft regulations, players born after Sept. 15 would not be eligible until next year. He is the second-youngest player in the draft.
"When I was a little kid I had
Kempe, who played for MoDo of the Swedish Hockey League last season, said he will stay in Sweden.
Ritchie, the Ducks' draft choice, has other plans.
"I think if you want to be something you've got to believe you can," he said. "I think that I'm ready to do that and I'm going to do whatever it takes to hopefully make that team."
Said Martin Madden, the Ducks' director of amateur scouting, "He is an impact player that makes opponents uncomfortable."
Shortly before the draft, teams were given a financial framework for next season. The salary cap will be $69 million, announced by the NHL and the NHL Players Assn. The number was lower than expected.