Today's been a good day, friends.
The new jerseys were revealed a few hours ago, and if you haven't seen them, I suggest you take a look. Those whites? So fresh.
The uniform reveal was far from the biggest news of the afternoon, however, as a potential trade that's been looming over our heads for some time now finally came full circle, as Bob Murray and Jim Benning finally reached an agreement that sends coveted center Ryan Kesler to Orange County. Two of the biggest needs that Anaheim was looking to address were a second-line center and some more depth on the blue line. Thanks to the GM of the year, one of those items on the to-do list was strongly checked off before the draft even began.
One commonality of the better teams of the NHL is their strength at center. Just to name a few teams, the Kings have Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter and Mike Richards (on the fourth line), the Bruins carry David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron, and Pittsburgh boasts Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. The one-two punch of Ryan Getzlaf and Kesler down the middle is exactly what the team needs to consistently compete with these other squads, and as Pierre LeBrun pointed out, it's a move that is intended to pay dividends in the playoffs.
As everyone expected, Kesler's price tag wasn't cheap. In exchange for #17, the Canucks will receive Nick Bonino, Luca Sbisa, and a 2014 first and third-round draft pick. Fortunately, Bob kept the 10th overall pick that he received from Ottawa under lock and key [Ed. Note: and selected Nick Ritchie -CK], and Vancouver had to settle with the 24th selection instead.
The only part of the return that bums me out in particular is losing Bones. He is coming off his biggest NHL season by a long shot, finishing third in overall team scoring (22-27-49) and adding some much-needed depth scoring to the roster. Sbisa, on the other hand, hasn't exactly lived up to his billing as a former first-round draft pick, and he has been fighting a losing battle at solidifying a roster spot among the likes of the up-and-coming Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen.
Going as far back as the trade deadline all the way up to today, names like Devante Smith-Pelly, Emerson Etem, and Rickard Rakell were being thrown around in the talks surrounding Kesler. For Murray to pull this trade without losing any prospects from arguably the NHL's strongest farm system is an incredible power move that allows the Ducks to keep their young blood flowing from Norfolk while bringing in some experienced veterans that can immediately contribute to the success of the team.
Yes, losing Bonino hurts, and I wish him nothing but the best in Vancouver, but to those of you who are against this trade for that reason, I dare you to honestly tell me you're not happy with a center depth chart of Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Mathieu Perreault, and Rickard Rakell. With a little tune-up on the left side, these guys could play a big role in ensuring that the Ducks will be running four lines deep, without a doubt making them that much closer to cementing their place among the NHL's elite, and more importantly, knocking those clowns up the freeway off their pedestal.
Regardless of how the rest of the draft goes, the Anaheim Ducks became a much better team today. October 9th can't come soon enough.
Finally, here are comments from Kesler and Murray's respective conference calls today. And a couple of interviews from NHL.com:
*Ignore the fact that Jamie McLennan calls Andrew Cogliano the Ducks third center in that last video.