The Ducks delivered center Nick Bonino and defenseman Luca Sbisa, as well as the 24th overall pick in this year's draft, which the Canucks used to take center Jared McCann from Sault Ste. Marie of the Ontario Hockey League. The deal was consummated just hours before the first round began at Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center.
"I'm going to Anaheim to win a championship," said Kesler, who waived his no-trade clause. "That's going to be my sole goal, and my team's sole goal."
The 29-year-old Kesler, who is coming off a 25-goal season for the Canucks, has spent his entire 10-season career in Vancouver, compiling six 20-goal seasons and 392 points while playing an agitating, physical style. The two-time U.S. Olympian won the Selke Trophy in 2011 as the NHL's best defensive forward. He has two years remaining on a six-year, $30 million deal.
The Ducks even kept the 10th overall pick in the draft, a product of their trade last year sending forward Bobby Ryan to Ottawa, which they used to select winger Nick Ritchie from the OHL's Peterborough Petes. Anaheim sent a third-round selection -- No. 85 -- to the Canucks, who flipped that pick to the New York Rangers for rugged forward Derek Dorsett. Anaheim also got a third-round pick in 2015 from Vancouver.
"This trade reinforces our goal to add youth, support our core players and develop draft picks who will contribute to the future success of our team," Canucks general manager Jim Benning said in a statement. "Nick Bonino and Luca Sbisa are talented players who immediately bring youth and skill to our roster. An additional first- and third-round pick gives us the opportunity to add two strong players to our system."
The deal ends months of speculation as to where Kesler would land. The 29-year-old pivot made a surprising appearance on the trading block at the deadline in March but ultimately was not moved. The Livonia, Mich., native had a no-trade clause, which allowed him to veto some of the interested suitors, including the New York Rangers and Columbus Blue Jackets.
Both the Ducks and the Chicago Blackhawks were believed to be Kesler's top two choices, and the deal addresses Anaheim's desire to land another skilled center to bolster the team's depth down the middle.
With Ryan Getzlaf already slotted in the No. 1 center spot, Kesler's addition provides the Ducks with a dangerous 1-2 punch, a necessity for the Ducks, especially considering they will have to go through the 2014 Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings for the foreseeable future.