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Kesler is the best player available in Philadelphia, a point driven home every time you hear someone suggest Jason Spezza is a backup plan.

The idea of Spezza leading a Western Conference team through the playoffs is laughable, which is probably why both Chicago and Anaheim have continued to pursue Kesler.

-Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province where you can read more on the Canucks trying to trade Ryan Kesler.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink



As best I can tell, Spezza and Kesler have had about the same amount of playoff success. And I don’t believe anyone who is trying to acquire Jason Spezza is doing so under the premise of him leading them. He’d be a complimentary player, a guy counted on to produce offence, especially on the PP.

Posted by Chris M on 06/27/14 at 08:23 AM ET

Iggy_Rules's avatar

I think the same could be said of Keeler. He is not in demand as a first liner but as a second liner.

At this point, though, I would actually lean toward Spezza simply due to Kesler’s injury history.

Posted by Iggy_Rules from Calgary, Canada on 06/27/14 at 09:16 AM ET

Canucklehead's avatar

To be honest, Spezza’s injury history is just about as bad as Kesler’s.  Spezza’s back has given him no ends of trouble over the years.

Posted by Canucklehead from Ottawa, Ontario on 06/27/14 at 09:31 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Yeah neither player would be expected to lead either Anaheim or Chicago.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/27/14 at 09:33 AM ET

Primis's avatar

Wait, what kind of blithering idiot would expect *Kesler* to lead a team through the Western Conference playoffs?

Posted by Primis on 06/27/14 at 11:10 AM ET

pautna's avatar

What Primis said. I would only add that if you’re looking for a Olympic grade diver, then he’s your man.

Posted by pautna on 06/27/14 at 11:54 AM ET


It’s an interesting comparison. 

Surface level numbers:

Kesler turns 30 in August, and in 655 games has recorded 182 goals and 211 assists for 393 points or a .60 PPG.

Spezza just turned 31 and in 686 games has recorded 251 and 436 assists for 687 points or almost exactly a point per game.

Kesler is a three-time Selke finalist and won it one year, while Spezza has never contended for a major award.  Kesler also has a 41 goal season, while Spezza topped out at 34 (a number he’s hit 3 times).  That 41-goal season is a clear outlier, though—Kesler’s second-highest goal-scoring season was with 26, and we can see that Spezza has been the better goal-scorer throughout his career.

Spezza’s coming off a 23-goal, 66-point season where he was also minus 26—ugly.  Kesler is coming off a 26-goal, 43-point season where he was minus 15—not as bad, but still ugly.  Both probably hope you assume the minus was due to team effects.

I think anyone would say that Kesler is the more physical and better defensive player, but I think Spezza is closer to the Hockey Hall of Fame and would be arguably just as valuable as a 2nd line center for Anaheim.  I think his playmaking skills would absolutely feast on second-tier opposition most of the season.

Posted by captaineclectic on 06/27/14 at 01:18 PM ET

Luongo-is-my-hero's avatar

well if you are going to strictly look at stats, also look at the fact that spezza has been playing on the first line for almost his whole career.  He also had great players to play with who were also at their prime at the time, such as heatley and alfreddson.  Kesler on the other hand was a 3rd line center who moved up to 2nd line a few years back.  He was asked to play a shutdown role and the players he played with were of inferior quality.  Im sure if kesler got to be first line role with ottawa during its powerhouse days his points would be a lot higher as well.

Posted by Luongo-is-my-hero on 06/27/14 at 02:57 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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