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Penguins interested in Canucks' Kesler: report

Saturday, 03.01.2014 / 10:17 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  / 2014 Trade Deadline blog

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2014 Trade Deadline blog
Penguins interested in Canucks' Kesler: report

The Pittsburgh Penguins are aggressively pursuing Vancouver Canucks center Ryan Kesler, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Saturday night.

Rob Rossi, citing multiple sources, reported that a proposed trade would send Kesler to the Penguins in exchange for center Brandon Sutter, two 2014 draft picks (likely a first-round and third-round), and the Canucks' choice of defensemen Simon Despres or Brian Dumoulin.

Rossi said general manager Ray Shero has been pursuing Kesler since January and would like to make a deal before the NHL Trade Deadline at 3 p.m. Wednesday, though the Penguins would try again during the offseason.

Kesler is a solid two-way center who can win faceoffs consistently and has scored as many as 41 goals in a season. He's 29 years old and has two more years remaining on his contract, with a $5 million salary-cap charge. Kesler leads the Canucks this season with 21 goals.

Shero has a history of making moves before the deadline; he's done so in six of seven previous seasons. In 2013, he acquired forwards Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow and Jussi Jokinen and defenseman Douglas Murray; Jokinen is the only one still with the team.

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[He's] real confident with the puck now, getting it off his stick quick and no second-guessing. We need that. He's such a good guy in the room. He works so hard. That's the big thing. For not a big man, he just fights for every puck and when he scores, the guys appreciate that even more.

— Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice on Mathieu Perreault, who scored two goals in win against Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday