Earlier today, the Ducks acquired center Ryan Kesler and a third-round selection in the 2015 NHL Draft from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for center Nick Bonino, defenseman Luca Sbisa, the 24th overall pick (first round) and the 85th overall pick (third round) in the 2014 NHL Draft.
Kesler and Ducks Executive Vice President/General Manager Bob Murray spoke with reporters via conference call shortly after. Below are their comments.
"Today was a start of a new chapter in my life," said Kesler. "For me and my family, it’s a positive move. We’re excited to be going to Anaheim, but at the same time, we’ve called Vancouver our home for the past 11 years. We have friends on the team, friends in this city, and the organization has treated us very well.
"But I’m going to Anaheim to win a championship. That’s going to my sole goal, and my team’s sole goal."
On if he’s the missing piece to winning a championship in Anaheim
"It’s tough comparing yourself to a Stanley Cup winning team, but there are a lot of pieces to the puzzle. I think I can fit into this team and this organization, and be a good No. 2 behind Ryan Getzlaf. We have size, speed and grit. I’d say that Getzlaf is one of the best centers in the game. I’m going to come in behind him and do my job."
On if he saw Anaheim as a potential destination at the trade deadline
"During the trade deadline, [Anaheim] was one of the teams I thought I was going to. It didn’t happen, but they got it done in the summer. I’m happy to call myself a Duck, and be a part of the Anaheim Ducks."
On Anaheim's style of play
"From the outside looking in, they’re a team that’s younger, but they have a lot of speed and skill. With [Corey] Perry and Getzlaf manning that first line, they’ve got speed, skill and grit, and they’re going to fight. That’s the type of first line you want. I’m just going to do whatever I can to help this team win."
On any familiarity with head coach Bruce Boudreau
"The talk around the league is that he’s a player’s coach. The guys want to win for him. They play for him. But other than that, I don’t know too much. I haven’t talked to him. Hopefully, I get a chance to talk to him pretty soon."
On his final season in Vancouver
"Last year, the season was tough on all the players who play for the Canucks. I hate losing, and that season was painful, to be honest. The fact that they’re in a rebuild and looking to get younger, and years away from being a contender, it was just time for me to move on and win, and hopefully take home a championship."
On if there was any thought of staying with the Canucks
"I’ve played with Trevor [Linden] and have a lot of respect for him. I met with Jim [Benning] in the summer and had a meeting with him. To me, it just seemed like the direction they were going didn’t fit with what I thought my career was going to be. At the end of the day, I want to win a championship, and I want to win it now. Four years is a little too long for me."
On if Chicago was the only other option
"Anaheim and Chicago were my two teams. Saying that, there were only teams that were on my list previously, but I was on the fence with them, with coaching changes and whatnot. But to be honest, I was only asked to waive my no trade to Anaheim. A deal was done, it happened fast and it caught me by surprise. I’m happy it got done today."
On if his role and/or style will change playing behind Getzlaf
"I don’t think so. Henrik [Sedin] is a very good player and I have nothing but good things to say about him. Getzlaf is just a different player. He’s bigger than Henrik. Getzlaf's a player who will fight and protect his teammates. Henrik wasn’t that type of player. He’s a playmaker and one of the classiest guys I’ve ever met. My game will never change. You guys know the way I play. It’s going to be all-out and leave it all out there every shift, every game."
On his memories of playing in Vancouver
"The day I got drafted is a great memory. My first goal assisted by Trevor [Linden]. The 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs and the Final, and the Presidents’ Trophy that we won. It’s all good memories. I have nothing but nice things to say about the Canucks organization. They treated me extremely well over those 11 seasons. But it was time for a change. I’m turning 30, and not only do I want to win a Stanley Cup, I want to be a big part of winning the Stanley Cup. I’m not getting any younger. I want to win a championship. With the direction their team is going, us and management made the decision that it was time to move on."
Murray, on what Kesler brings
"We're better on faceoffs automatically. Ryan does it all. We have a great 1-2 punch up the middle."
Murray, on losing Bonino and Sbisa
"You have to give up good players to get a player like Ryan. It was difficult to give up Nick and Luca, but we felt it was a time to make a little bit of a move to improve our hockey team. It's not easy, but we feel like we're a better team than we were yesterday. I don’t know how much closer we are [to a Cup], but we’ll find out come October and November. "
Murray, on Kesler’s occasional injuries
"He plays so hard, there are going to be injuries. We want him to play that way, so we understand there are going to be injuries along the way. He’s the type of player we need in the playoffs, so we’ll take the odd injury along the way."
Murray, on whether there are further deals planned
"There has been a lot of talk going on, but nothing imminent. We’ll see what goes on when we hit the [draft] floor. We do have some budget money left."