The Ducks’ positioning for a final trade-deadline day deal failed to culminate in a trade Wednesday when the Vancouver Canucks kept center Ryan Kesler and two other possible additions went elsewhere.
Buffalo forward Matt Moulson was traded to the Minnesota Wild, and the New York Islanders sent forward Thomas Vanek (21 goals, 32 assists) to the Montreal Canadiens, with initial reports saying all it took was a second-round pick and a prospect.
The Ducks, leading the NHL with a 43-14-5 record, have two first-round and two second-round
picks in the 2014 draft, along with numerous young forwards like Kyle Palmieri, Emerson Etem and Devante Smith-Pelly.
It was speculated that by trimming the payroll of wing Dustin Penner and goalie Viktor Fasth in Tuesday trades, the Ducks were angling for a deal. In reality, the team wanted to be in position if the right player and right price came along, but they were comfortable with the existing players on their roster who could fill the Penner first-line void.
Kesler, with 21 goals and 18 assists, was the Ducks’ leading target, but Anaheim ended the
day comfortable with keeping those players, giving Palmieri and young forward Jakob Silfverberg more of an opportunity to play in Penner's spot.
Palmieri will be in the first line Wednesday night against the Montreal Canadiens.
Vancouver’s true interest in dealing their star to a division rival is another factor that
could emerge later.