Flyers linked to Kesler, but should stay away

Flyers linked to Kesler, but should stay away

Ron Hextall's vision for the Flyers

June 9, 2014, 11:00 am
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Center Ryan Kesler had 25 goals and 18 assists in 77 games with the Canucks this season. (USA Today Images)

Whenever the Stanley Cup Final rolls around, there are always a couple trade rumors or some free-agent speculation.

Inevitably, the Flyers' name comes up. 

Twice in the past six years, there was traction to the talk: the rumors of Ray Emery's signing with the Flyers, and two years later, Ilya Bryzgalov's, both of which happened.

The latest coming out of the Final has to deal with Vancouver centerman Ryan Kesler, who is reportedly asking to be traded while listing the Flyers as one of his six potential destinations, according to TSN.

Just what the Flyers need: another $5 million center whose best years are behind him and who turns 30 in August.

This figures to be a very challenging summer for newly installed general manager Ron Hextall, who has about $6.5 million in salary cap space and is desperately seeking to fill one, if not two, spots on defense, while having to re-sign a half-dozen or so players, including Emery, the backup to goalie Steve Mason.

The Kesler deal, which was wildly speculated without substantiation during the trade deadline, made no sense in March and makes even less sense right now.

Yeah, Bob Clarke tendered Kesler an offer sheet for $1.9 million back in 2006. Vancouver matched. Been there, done that.

We’ve already seen the mess the Flyers got themselves into last July by diving foolishly into free agency to sign center Vinny Lecavalier when the position they absolutely need to upgrade was wing.

How did that turn out?

The Flyers have too many centers. Even if they lost one, they don’t need another -- they need a scoring left wing, but even before that, they need a sturdy, No. 1 defenseman who can play 21 minutes a night.

And that’s a position that is going to be very tough to fill.

Kimmo Timonen could be re-signed, but "if" that scenario occurs, it won’t be anywhere near the $6 million he earned last season.

Hextall admitted defense is a priority in his first offseason. Soon we’ll discover just how much a priority the position truly represents.

For now, however, any thoughts of Ryan Kesler remain absurd to justify on multiple levels.

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