Vancouver Canucks center Ryan Kesler denies a report claiming he requested a trade, but that hasn’t silenced the trade speculation.

Ryan Kesler denies seeking a trade, but rumors persist.

Ryan Kesler denies seeking a trade, but rumors persist.

VANCOUVER SUN: Brad Ziemer reports Canucks center Ryan Kesler emphatically denied a report claiming he requested a trade, calling the report “completely false”. He claimed he was happy to be a Canuck and wants to be in Vancouver. He also denied rumors claiming he spoke about wanting out of Vancouver during the Sochi Olympics. Iain MacIntyre, meanwhile, reports the Canucks have been quietly fielding offers for Kesler. MacIntyre suggests Canucks GM Mike Gillis could save his team’s season by trading Kesler, provided the deal was done right. Kesler must also be open to waiving his no-trade clause.

SPORTSNET.CA: Luke Fox cues the “Kesler-to-Maple Leafs” speculation, noting Leafs GM Dave Nonis was with the Canucks when they drafted Kesler, who also played for Leafs coach Randy Carlyle during their days with the Canucks’ AHL affiliate. Fox also points out Leafs center Nazem Kadri has been in and out of Carlyle’s doghouse this season. Fox, however, also cited the possible downside, as Kesler’s best seasons could be behind him, while the young Kadri is improving and loves being a Leaf. Mark Spector, meanwhile, believes the Canucks need to get real and shop Kesler for the best return possible, provided the center is willing to waive his no-trade clause.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples wonders what it could cost the Oilers to land Kesler, provided he was willing to accept a trade to Edmonton. He believes Sam Gagner would be part of the asking price.

TSN.CA: Darren Dreger believes there has to have been some dialogue about a possible trade between the Canucks and Kesler. “I know that teams were contacted as far back as a month ago to say ‘have a look at our roster. If there is a member of this organization that you want to take a run at then we’re listening, we’re open for business”, said Dreger, who claims that also includes Kesler.  He feels there could be enough interest in Kesler to make a trade deadline deal possible, but that depends upon the Canucks asking price…. Dreger also reports the Ottawa Senators could move Chris Phillips, while the Buffalo Sabres are listening to offers for defenseman Tyler Myers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kesler denies requesting a trade, but he may be willing to entertain it if the Canucks approach him with an offer to go to a Cup contender. I agree they simply won’t give him away. If Kesler is willing to move and Gillis is willing to trade him, I don’t believe they should try to move him at the trade deadline, as I doubt they get a suitable return for him now. Forget about “saving this season”, that’s silly and short-sighted. Shop Kesler in the off-season, preferably around the NHL Draft in June, when teams have more money and willingness to pony up for him. As for Kesler to the Leafs, I believe it would be a huge mistake to give up Kadri to get him. I also don’t see him agreeing to be dealt to Edmonton.