NHL notebook: Canucks deal Kesler to Ducks
The Ducks acquired center Ryan Kesler from the Canucks in a trade for center Nick Bonino, defenseman Luca Sbisa and the 24th overall pick in Friday's draft.
The 29-year-old Kesler is a standout two-way center who 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.
Kesler has struggled with injuries for the past three seasons, including a torn shoulder labrum, an injured wrist and a broken foot. He still appeared in 77 games for the Canucks last season, scoring 25 goals.
Kesler has two years and $10 million left on his contract.
Anaheim also tried to land Kesler at the trade deadline last season but couldn't reach a deal with the Canucks.
The Ducks finished atop the Western Conference standings in the regular season and beat Dallas in the first round of the playoffs before losing a seven-game, second-round series to eventual Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles.
Bonino developed into a steady center for the Ducks after breaking into the NHL during the 2009-10 season.
The former sixth-round draft pick by San Jose had 22 goals and 27 assists in 77 games last season for the Ducks before scoring eight points in 13 playoff games.
But the Ducks are tweaking their already strong roster with an eye toward playoff success, and Kesler's tested veteran skills fit perfectly. Kesler scored 19 points in 25 playoff games in 2011 while the Canucks reached Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals, losing to Boston.
Sbisa could use a fresh start after falling out of favor with Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau last season, playing in just 30 regular-season games and two postseason contests.
Panthers use top pick on ‘D'
The Panthers selected defenseman Aaron Ekblad with the first pick in the NHL Draft.
The 6-foot-4, 214-pound Ekblad played for Barrie in the Ontario Hockey League. He is the first defenseman to go No. 1 since St. Louis took Erik Johnson in 2006.
Ekblad was the OHL's most outstanding defenseman last season, ranking first among defensemen with 23 goals and tying for fifth with 53 points. He also served as Barrie's captain.
The Sabres selected center Sam Reinhart with the second overall pick. He is the son of former NHL player Paul Reinhart, who was selected by the Atlanta Flames in the first round in 1979. The Edmonton Oilers selected center Leon Draisaitl with the third overall pick.
Coyotes buy out Ribeiro
The Coyotes bought out center Mike Ribeiro's contract. He was considered a major acquisition when he signed a four-year, $22 million contract last season, but was benched twice by coach Dave Tippett late in the season while the Coyotes were still in the playoff hunt. Ribeiro struggled with personal issues during the season and finished with 16 goals and 31 assists in 80 games.
Red Wings sign goalie
The Red Wings signed backup goaltender Jonas Gustavsson to a one-year contract. The 29-year-old Gustavsson went 16-5-4 during 27 appearances while backing up Jimmy Howard last season. He posted a 2.63 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage.
3 re-sign with Blackhawks
Forwards Ben Smith and Jeremy Morin, and backup goalie Antti Raanta agreed to two-year contract extensions with the Blackhawks through the 2015-16 season.