Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press
If the Detroit Red Wings want Vancouver Canucks forward Ryan Kesler, they will need to surrender a substantial amount to get him, according to TSN's Bob McKenzie.
The Canucks are looking for a return in the neighborhood of an arm, a leg and a proverbial kitchen sink, per McKenzie:
[The] defined price is three significant components. a 20 to 25-year-old established National Hockey League centre, who could immediately step into the lineup and fill much of the void created by the loss of Kesler. No. 2, a top-end prospect. Preferably a forward, but if it was a defenceman it would give the Canucks flexibility to trade one of their existing defenceman down the road. And No. 3, a first-round pick.
Detroit Free Press writer Helene St. James suggests that it would "likely cost Justin Abdelkader, either one of Gustav Nyquist/Tomas Tatar/Tomas Jurco, and either a first-round pick or a high-end prospect like Ryan Sproul, Calle Jarnkrok or Teemu Pulkkinen."
While it might seem like a lot to give up, the fact remains that Ryan Kesler is a much better defensive player than Abdelkader is (as evidenced by his Selke Trophy in 2011). Kesler is also head and shoulders better than Abdelkader on offense, as he had back-to-back 70-plus-point seasons in 2009-10 and 2010-11.
While the Livonia, Michigan native turns 30 this August, he is a viable top-six forward (unlike Abdelkader) and can provide an immediate scoring presence for Detroit.
Kesler has one year left on his deal worth $5 million next season, but he would provide the uncommon combination of top-six grit, scoring power and commitment to defense that the Red Wings lack in one specific player other than Johan Franzen.
He would definitely help the Red Wings get to the next level, but albeit, at an extremely steep cost.
To Detroit: Ryan Kesler
To Vancouver: Justin Abdelkader, Tomas Jurco, conditional first-round pick (if Detroit reaches Stanley Cup Final, otherwise reverts to second-round pick)