Ryan Kesler

Kesler sweepstakes is only heating up


Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning insisted earlier on Thursday that he’s comfortable with the idea of keeping Ryan Kesler in the fold if the right move isn’t available, echoing his predecessor’s stance. If nothing else, it sounds like the Canucks will have plenty of proposals to leaf through during what could be a crucial couple of days.

Of course, Kesler’s no-trade clause could make the number of suitors largely irrelevant, at least beyond the few he’s reportedly interested in working with. (TSN’s Darren Dreger backs up the belief that his list remains small.)

Either way, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that the Kesler trade talk has only been heating up during the last 24 hours.

More than a few people believe that the St. Louis Blues rank among the teams angling for the 29-year-old center, as it’s plausible that they re-signed Patrik Berglund merely to make him an easier asset to trade.

There’s talk that the Anaheim Ducks are on Kesler’s (very) short list of palatable destinations, but the asking price might be a little too rich for reigning GM of the Year Bob Murray’s taste:

Again, the increased interest as the 2014 NHL Draft approaches might do little except possibly give Benning a little more leverage:

Much like the NBA’s own draft this week, one thing remains clear: this could be an exciting and wild time even before the first selection is made in Philadelphia.

More on Keslermania

Benning says he’ll stand his ground

Canucks say there’s no timetable for a move

Envisioning a Blackhawks team with the U.S.-born center

He might only be willing to join Chicago, Anaheim or Pittsburgh

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?