Hockey Widow wrote:I think the issues here are varied.
First, I think MG and company are really seeing the state of the team. They have finally lost confidence that this core can get it done. I interpret that to mean that they are for the first time perhaps prepared to part with 1-2 players on the core to get an injection of youth, size and talent, along with trying to re-stock in some small way, Utica.
I also think that they know the number of injuries we have had to deal with, and now Dank out for a minimum of 3 weeks, have taken its toll. To that end I don't think they see the need nor have the desire or inclination for a major rebuild. Just that the re-tool now involves a piece or two from the core.
MG has been saying for some time, and has been trying for some time, to add to the top six. With the twins and Burrows USUALLY providing good first line production, MG has been trying to find skilled players to compliment the second line. We had it for a bit with Sammy the Swede. Raymond was given every chance to succeed and early indications looked promising. Granber had a peek a boo shot but had horrible camps every year. Booth has not worked out. Kassian was brought in to grow into that role. Higgins looked good with Kesler but they never could find a third guy to complete the line. And again recently MG said they want to go out and find players to play with Kesler and create that important second line. At one point we were interested in taking a shot at Moulson, then the wheels fell off.
MG entertained moving Edler before his NTC kicked in. Who knows what the offers were but for whatever reasons MG did not pull the trigger. A lot of people felt that was his best offseason shot at landing a legit top six. Was one offered? Who knows.
Back up a bit. After getting dump again 4 straight in the playoffs and Kesler is upset, pissed. He says he wants to win now. He sees where the team is headed, no real changes or infusion to the top six. He has general conversations about his long term future here. Then comes training camp and still no upgrades up front. Kesler loses a letter, gets put on wing and the team has a bad start. Kesler starts mumbling about his frustrations, doubt rises as to whether he will consider and extension or be more than willing to test FA when the time comes. Kesler says all the right things but the Kesler of old is gone. The one who says he wants to retire a Canuck, loves this group, believes this group has what it takes. Instead this new Kesler emerges, the one that still says all the right things but says you never know what the future brings, not thinking that far ahead, wants to win now and the future will take care of itself.
Kesler has grown up. He is no longer talking about taking hometown discounts to keep the team together. He no longer feels management us doing enough to keep the team competitive. He will play his balls off as usual but now he has one eye looking at greener pastures.
All of this adds up to it being a good time to contemplate moving him. The past two years were the years to get that top six to play with him. If MG can still do that he may salvage the situation. But it looks and feels like he won't be able to make it happen.
I also agree that it is almost impossible to predict what MG will do. He has been a master at concealing his true intentions. So do I believe Kesler is being shopped? Yes but I think it is still MG's preference to keep Kesler and add to the top six. Problem is Kesler is our best bet to get a top six, although I think Edler could do it as well. So if we could move Edler + to get a top six I!d love to see Kesler back next year and that coupled with a youngster or two and a healthy team, see what next year looks like, still looking like shit, then trade Kesler.
Great post HW. Thanks. I know a lot of what you're saying there is opinion, but it's probably the most informed opinion we get.
Question about Moulson.....did the wheels completely fall off, or just 3 of the 4? I'm not really sure what Buffalo is looking for, or how much Moulson will want in the off-season, but is there still any chance of getting him and keeping Kesler? I mean even if it cost us Edler? At this point Moulson is a rental, but if Gillis can re-sign him, and Kesler and Moulson work out, then bingo, he salvages the situation.
Moulson-Kesler-Kassian would look pretty good IMHO.