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Player Review: Ryan Kesler
By Jameson Bradley
The Kingslayer finished his second full season under contract with the Anaheim Ducks. At $6.8 million per year, the big centerman was supposed to continue his trend of ruffing up the other teams best player and scoring goals at the same time. Unfortunately, Kesler only dressed for 44 games in the season, scoring eight goals and getting six assists with a total of 14 points. Those numbers are drastically different from the previous season where he scored 22 goals and 36 assists. Although that same season he played all 82 games, you can tell there is a difference in production even apart from the number of games he dressed.
His production and lack of games can be attributed to hip surgery that he underwent in June 2017. He was not able to return until halfway through the season, but even then it was noticeable he wasn’t playing at 100%. As fans, we didn’t need to keep speculating that point because it was made official by General Manager Bob Murray before the playoffs. Ryan Kesler was back but he wasn’t playing near full health.
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He continued to play that way through the season and into the four games the Anaheim Ducks played in the playoffs. Apart from the numbers, his play on the ice not only affected him but also his linemates Andrew Cogliano and Jakob Silfverberg. In previous seasons the second line for the Ducks has been one of the most dominant in the league. Not only can they shut down the other teams best players, but they can score the goals and keep the pressure at the right times. They were incredibly dependable and dominate on the ice. This season Kesler and his line struggled. Given they only played half the season together, they just didn’t click like they normally did in previous years.
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The question now is will Ryan Kesler play next season? There are reports swirling around that Kesler might not play next season due to the fact that he was rushed back on the ice from injury too soon. According to the reports it not only made the injury worse but made it so he might not be able to return in the near future. Retirement is always an option but word is he isn’t interested in retiring and it trying to do everything he can to return to the ice. We won’t really know the verdict until training camp, so until then we will have to wait until more concrete information. The team has not commented on it.
All in all the season was somewhat of a bust for Kesler. We all know what he is capable of, and to see him push through the pain on the ice only to have it potentially have been his last season would be heartbreaking. Hopefully, things turn out great, and we have the Kingslayer back next year at 100%!
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June 2nd, 2018