Canucks ship center Ryan Kesler to Ducks

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Vancouver, BC, Canada (4E Sports) – The Vancouver Canucks made the first big trade before the 2014 NHL draft, shipping coveted center Ryan Kesler to the Anaheim Ducks for two players and a pick.

The Ducks sent back center Nick Bonino and defenseman Luca Sbisa, as well as the 24th overall pick in this year’s draft, in a deal finalized hours before the draft begins at Wells Fargo Center.

The Canucks also received the 85th overall pick in this year’s draft, while Anaheim received a third-round pick in next year’s draft.

“This trade reinforces our goal to add youth, support our core players and develop draft picks who will contribute to the future success of our team,” Canucks general manager Jim Benning said.

“Nick Bonino and Luca Sbisa are talented players who immediately bring youth and skill to our roster. An additional first- and third-round pick gives us the opportunity to add two strong players to our system,” he added.

The trade ended months of speculation as to where the 29-year-old Kesler would land. He was put on trading block at the trade deadline in March but ultimately was not moved due to his no-trade clause.

However, the Ducks and the Chicago Blackhawks were believed to be Kesler’s top two choices, and the deal addresses Anaheim’s desire to land another skilled center to bolster the team’s depth down the middle.

With Ryan Getzlaf already slotted in the No. 1 center spot, Kesler’s addition provides the Ducks with a dangerous 1-2 punch on their top two lines, a necessity for the Ducks, especially considering they will have to go through the 2014 Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings for the foreseeable future.

The Canucks also traded defenseman Jason Garrison, the rights to winger Jeff Costello and a seventh-round pick in 2015 to the Tampa Bay Lightning for the 50th overall pick in this year’s draft. The move opens up additional salary-cap flexibility for Vancouver.

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