In the last few weeks, there have been rumors/speculations that Canucks' center Ryan Kesler could be on the move this summer. Whether these come from any credible sources has yet to be determined, but once rumors are circulated, they're difficult to rule out.
For numerous reasons, Mike Gillis would be foolish to even consider shopping Kesler, and a large portion of the fan base would likely agree.
To start, he is a 27-year-old center who's proven he can shine both offensively and defensively, and he is among the best in the league in face-offs. It would be hard to imagine a return that would bring equal value to the team.
To expand on that, Kesler's current trade value does not reflect his potential. He recently completed a season which saw his lowest point total in three seasons by a significant margin. To top it off, his performance in the brief playoff run was arguably the worst we've ever seen from him.
Because of this, the gap in trade return would grow.
In addition—and more importantly—this would essentially mean the Canucks lost Cody Hodgson for nothing.
Whether Hodgson requested a trade or not, a large factor was that he was restricted from becoming a top 2 center. With Kesler and Henrik Sedin in front, it would be years before Hodgson was given his opportunity, despite the fact he appeared ready.
Because of this, Mike Gillis traded away the young fan favorite. While fans were not happy losing Hodgson, most understood and respected the reasoning behind it.
If Kesler is moved, however, that will change, and Gillis will be in further scrutiny for his Feb. 27 decision.
Despite the new contract, Mike Gillis would be foolish to move Ryan Kesler. Until he confirms or denies, all we can do is hope that the Kesler rumors are just that, rumors.