Kesler: Vancouver Canucks are ‘years away from being a contender’

The Canucks traded Ryan Kesler to the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday, receiving Nick Bonino, Luca Sbisa, and a 24th overall pick in return

Ryan Kesler practices with the Vancouver Canucks in 2012

Ryan Kesler addressed his trade to Anaheim, sent to Southern California from the Vancouver Canucks early on Thursday.

Kesler played 10 years with the Canucks and was drafted by Vancouver in the first round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

After being a Stanley Cup contender from 2010 to 2012, the Canucks didn’t make the playoffs last season, finishing eight points out of the race.

“I hate losing and that season was painful, to be honest,” Kesler said Thursday. (NHL.com). “The fact that they’re in a rebuild and looking to get younger and are years away from being a contender, I think it was just time for me to move on and win and hopefully take home a championship.”

Kesler now joins an Anaheim team that finished first in the Western Conference last season, but lost the Los Angeles Kings in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Critics said the Ducks needed to get bigger down the middle to compete with the Kings and the Chicago Blackhawks, which they have now done by acquiring Kesler, who won a Selke Trophy as the NHL’s best defensive forward in 2011.

“We’re excited to be going to Anaheim, but at same time we’ve called Vancouver home for 11 years,” Kesler said. “We have friends on the team, friends in the city and the organization has treated us well. I’m going to Anaheim to win a championship. That’s going to be my sole goal and my team’s sole goal. That’s basically it.”

Vancouver has the 6th overall pick in tonight’s NHL Entry Draft and also the 24th overall pick, which they received from Anaheim in addition to forward Nick Bonino and defenceman Luca Sbisa.

The Canucks also traded defenceman Jason Garrison to Tampa Bay on Thursday, picking up the 50th overall selection in tonight’s draft.

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