Ryan Kesler has undergone successful right hip resurfacing surgery, likely meaning he will not play in 2019-20—if ever again. Kesler has been dealing with pain for a long time, and this surgery will help relieve that and give him some help in his daily life. GM Bob Murray explained the decision to have the procedure:
As we all know, Ryan has been fiercely battling his condition for quite some time. I’ve been extremely impressed by his determination to play despite being significantly injured. At this point, Ryan needs to think about his life and family. The pain he felt was significant and we agree with his decision to have this surgery. While it’s unlikely he will play in 2019-20, we will support any decision he makes about his future playing career. He deserves the utmost respect, which he will receive from the entire Ducks organization as he contemplates his future.
Kesler, 35, fought desperately through 60 games this season in order to cross the 1,000-game threshold for his career, but was obviously a shadow of his former self on the ice. Recording just eight points in those 60 matches, the former annual Selke Trophy nominee (and winner in 2011) posted the worst +/- and possession statistics of his career. He still has three seasons remaining on his contract that carries a $6.875MM cap hit, but will likely be moved to long-term injured reserve if the Ducks need the cap space.
If this is the end of the line for Kesler, he’ll go down as one of the best two-way forwards we’ve seen in recent NHL history. Peaking with a 75-point campaign in 2009-10 for the Vancouver Canucks, he routinely posted at least 20 goals while being tasked with shutting down—and getting under the skin of—the opponent’s best players. In 2019-11 he set a career-high with 41 goals before recording another 19 points in the Canucks’ Stanley Cup Final run, and overall put up 65 points in 101 career playoff games.
For the Ducks, having Kesler officially out with an injury may actually be a blessing in disguise at this point. While the team could obviously use a player of his caliber when fully healthy, he was probably a detriment to them last season. Anaheim has a young core group of forwards about to come to the NHL and demand more ice time, and the minutes designated to Kesler in 2018-19 can now be divided among them.