The Anaheim Ducks are well out of the playoff race in the Western Conference, meaning they don’t need to rush players back from injury for the last bit of the season. That could mean that Ryan Kesler’s year is finished after 60 games, given his chronic hip pain and absence recently. GM Bob Murray told Elliott Teaford of the Orange County Register that he doesn’t know if Kesler will play again this season, and that if Kesler were willing to shut down for the year and start the recovery process it “would be fine.”
The veteran center broke the 1000-game threshold just this month, but is a shadow of his former self and has just eight points on the season. The 34-year old has three more years on his contract but seems like a candidate for long-term injured reserve at some point in the future, if his hip injury doesn’t improve.
- The Chicago Blackhawks have their eye on second round pick Ian Mitchell as he progresses at the University of Denver, and Scott Powers of The Athletic (subscription required) caught up with the young defenseman to get a read on whether he would be willing to sign after this season. Mitchell wouldn’t commit to anything, but explained that a recent rumor of him not wanting to sign in Chicago wasn’t true. “I want to play for the Blackhawks as soon as I can,” Mitchell told Powers, though he is still focused on taking Denver as far as they can go this year.
- Speaking of the college market, the Vancouver Canucks are still eyeing potential NCAA defensemen even after inking Quinn Hughes and Josh Teves over the last few days. That’s what GM Jim Benning told Ben Kuzma of The Province yesterday, explaining that they would like to sign one more defenseman out of the college ranks. It’s not clear who they have their eye on, but with names like Jimmy Schuldt still to sign there is plenty of talent to recruit over the next few days and weeks. The Canucks have a great example to point to during that recruitment process, as Troy Stetcher has found great success with the team since signing out of the University of North Dakota in 2016.