Ryan Kesler was going to have an impact on the NHL’s trade deadline regardless of whether he moved or not, and did he ever.
The U.S. Olympian did not find a new NHL home Wednesday despite a serious push in particular by the Anaheim Ducks, and you can certainly underline the efforts of the Pittsburgh Penguins, also.
Now, the Vancouver Canucks were up front from the beginning of Kesler’s trade-market entry that they were not committed 100 percent to moving him; that cannot be forgotten here. They told teams they would listen but ultimately would reserve the right to wait until the offseason to move him if they felt a better package would await them in June.
And it might just be that by involving more teams closer to the draft, they will get a longer list of quality offers.
Or maybe lessons were not learned from the Roberto Luongo saga over the past two years in terms of striking when there’s a good enough offer on the table.
What I do know is that the Ducks were aggressively trying to get a Kesler deal done, and few teams were in a better position to deliver the goods given their deep, deep pool of high-end prospect talent.
What they didn’t have was the 20- to 25-year-old center the Canucks had hoped to gain in this deal. That can’t be overlooked.
But Anaheim has a bevy of youthful talent to pick from.
Regardless, it was certainly Vancouver’s right not to pull the trigger. It’s believed the Ducks didn’t find out the Kesler option was gone until the last 15 to 20 minutes before the 3 p.m. ET deadline. That pretty much left the Ducks without a chance to recover.
There was a Plan B for Anaheim, a source said, in the name of Matt Moulson, but by then he was well on his way to Minnesota. You can’t ask the Buffalo Sabres to wait forever.
The Penguins, like the Ducks, probably didn’t have the type of day they had hoped because of their pursuit of Kesler. The Pens acquired Lee Stempniak and Marcel Goc, but it certainly wasn’t the sizzle they were looking for.
In the meantime, the long wait on Kesler, as well as the late-moving parts in Thomas Vanek and Moulson impacted the Calgary Flames' effort to move Mike Cammalleri -- something Flames boss Brian Burke confirmed in his post-deadline news conference. The market place was waiting on Vanek, Kesler and Moulson and had Cammalleri on the back-burner, which left the Flames holding back on him.
Calgary probably could have made a very meager, last-minute deal, but as Burke said afterward, he’d rather hang on to Cammalleri -- maybe keep talking contract with him -- rather than make a bad deal. Don’t disagree with him there.
Elsewhere, another deal that didn’t materialize but certainly would have been awfully interesting was San Jose’s attempt to lure Ryan Callahan from the Rangers. Sources tell ESPN.com that the Sharks were fairly down the road on a deal for him and likely would have gotten him had Steve Yzerman in Tampa Bay decided to hold on to Martin St. Louis. The Sharks deal appeared to be the Rangers’ Plan B on a Callahan trade. Columbus also chatted with the Rangers on a Callahan deal.
Which also tells you the amount of groundwork the Blueshirts got done on a Callahan trade, which means no doubt that they went to bed Tuesday night deciding they weren’t signing their captain despite last-minute movement from the Callahan camp. The winger’s camp moved down to within $200,000 or so from the Rangers’ $6 million-per-year offer, but the real stumbling block was the desire from the Callahan camp for a no-trade clause, something Rangers general manager Glen Sather confirmed to New York media was indeed the case.
At the end of a day in which split-second decisions make all the difference in the world, lots of what-if’s for many teams.
I would have loved to have seen Kesler in a Ducks uniform. Imagine that one-two punch at center with Ryan Getzlaf? Ooof.
Instead, we’ll all pick up the Kesler trade speculation in June. Until then.