One can only speculate how many teams can afford to land Ryan Kesler from the Vancouver Canucks, but there’s also the matter of him waiving his no-trade clause. He wouldn’t do so to join the Columbus Blue Jackets even if they can make a deal with the Canucks, according to the Vancouver Province.
Update: Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos reports that Kesler provided the Canucks with a short list of teams he’d be interested in joining:
The Province notes that Kesler, 29, spent the 2002-03 season at Ohio State University (where he admitted he “wasn’t much of a student”). Apparently that single year of college hockey wasn’t enough to move the needle for the two-way forward.
It might not help that Kesler had a “legendary rift” with Blue Jackets forward R.J. Umberger during his brief time with the Buckeyes:
Read what you want into Kesler’s legendary rift with Blue Jackets centre R.J. Umberger that goes back to being college linemates for the Buckeyes. There’s the story about Umberger supposedly being jealous about Kesler’s first pro contract and using it as leverage to do his deal.
There was some alleged public dissing of Kesler on the Columbus airwaves and the two even fought at centre ice in Vancouver on Jan. 18, 2009. That was a long time ago, but you have to think bitterness lingers.
It’s not the greatest video, but here’s footage of that squabble:
Whether it’s that bitterness with Umberger or merely the fact that the Blue Jackets’ playoff position in the East isn’t any better than Vancouver’s out West, it sounds like Columbus can cross Kesler off its wish list.