Ryan Kesler returns to Vancouver for first time with Ducks

Ducks center Ryan Kesler skates against the Buffalo Sabres last month.
(Chris Carlson / Associated Press)

It’s like seeing someone else with your property.

Or something like that.

Ducks center Ryan Kesler wore No. 17 for the 10 seasons he was in Vancouver and now it is possessed by forward Radim Vrbata, who has eight goals and 15 points this season with the Canucks.

Will it look weird seeing someone else wear it?

“Yeah, that’s been my number for 10 years,” Kesler said. “It will be awkward but … yeah, it’ll be awkward.”

There was a sizable crowd of reporters around him after Thursday’s morning skate as he prepared for his first game back in Vancouver since the trade to Anaheim in June.

For the Ducks, defenseman Francois Beauchemin will return to action after missing five games because of the mumps. He will be paired with Hampus Lindholm. Beauchemin’s return means Bryan Allen is the odd man out.

Another defense pairing for Anaheim will be Cam Fowler and Sami Vatanen. Vatanen had three points in Calgary on Tuesday but struggled defensively in the third period.


“I think Sami would like to be a little stronger in his own zone,” Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau. “He got knocked off the puck in Calgary and there was a goal scored. Against Florida, a guy went wide on him, and scored. I think the previous game, a guy went wide on him in L.A. and scored.

“These are things where Sami is smart enough to be able to find ways to make those plays in the future. Let’s not forget, he’s still a young defenseman in the NHL.”

Boudreau got off a couple of good lines when asked about Vatanen’s Corsi rating.

“I don’t know. I’ve never looked at a Corsi number,” Boudreau said. “So that tells you my answer. I don’t pay any attention to any of that.

“I can tell by my eyes whether he is playing good or bad.”