The Ducks need a second-line center who wins faceoffs, kills penalties, makes a difference on the power play, and plays in an anti-social manner.
Ryan Kesler won 52.6 percent of his faceoffs last year, scored nine of his 25 goals on the power play, played 21:48 per game as a center, and continued to win enemies throughout the NHL.
The Ducks have two first-round choices in the upcoming draft, at No. 10 and No. 24, and got 11 playoff goals from rookies or players under 23 years old.
The Vancouver Canucks missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008, and their farm system is ranked 27th in the 30-team NHL by the website Hockey’s Future, for whatever that’s worth.
If there was a HockeyMingle.com website, this would be a 100 percent match.
In fact, the Ducks reportedly offered both first-round picks and two young players to Vancouver for Kesler, at the trade deadline.
Canucks general manager Mike Gillis said no. Since then, Gillis has gotten his just reward for fouling up a club that was in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final three years ago. His replacement, Jim Benning, will take over this week.
Indications are that Ducks general manager Bob Murray might not offer as much for Kesler this time. Other clubs will.
But certainly Murray is dealing from strength. His club is coming off a 117-point season. And there are other alternatives.
Ottawa center Jason Spezza has a better faceoff percentage than Kesler (54 percent) and also had nine power-play goals, of 23.
His minus-26 is a red flag, since fellow Senators center Kyle Turris was plus-22, but Spezza is a something-out-of-nothing scorer and was the Senators’ captain last year.
Still, the 32-year-old Kesler makes a little more sense.
He was the Canucks’ most consistent player and yet makes “only” $5 million in each of the next two seasons.
Spezza, 30, makes $4 million in 2014-15 but carries a salary-cap liability of $7 million, and then can become an unrestricted free agent.
With the menacing Kesler out there, it’s likely that Dallas’ mischief-makers would have curbed their first-round antics, especially their punches to Ryan Getzlaf’s protective jaw mask. Tim Jackman could have policed that, but he was out because of a broken hand.
Kesler would have given Bruce Boudreau another option in patrolling Anze Kopitar in the Kings’ series.
The Ducks would gain $9 million in cap space if Jonas Hiller and Saku Koivu aren’t here. That is added to Teemu Selanne’s retirement and doesn’t count the general cap escalation in 2015.
In theory, that would enable Murray to chase his real dream: an unquestioned No. 1 defenseman.