Kevin Bieksa traded to Anaheim in Pacific Division stunner

Kevin Bieksa traded to Anaheim in Pacific Division stunner

Hey, remember when Kevin Bieksa was going to be traded to the Sharks? It almost happened, but the Sharks wouldn't give up a second rounder in the 2015 NHL Draft. 

So the Vancouver Canucks did the proper thing, which was to spite them by trading Bieksa for a 2016 second-round pick and sending him to the Sharks' rivals. Hence, Bieksa is now a defenseman for the Anaheim Ducks.

From the Ducks:

The Anaheim Ducks announced today that the National Hockey League (NHL) club has acquired defenseman Kevin Bieksa from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for a second-round selection in the 2016 NHL Draft.

Bieksa, 34 (6/16/81), scored 56-185=241 points with a +22 rating and 879 penalty minutes (PIM) in 597 career NHL games with Vancouver. Among all-time franchise defensemen, Bieksa ranked sixth in scoring, assists and games, and fourth in PIM. Among franchise playoff leaders for defensemen, he led in goals (10), ranked third in appearances (71) and sixth in scoring.

So how much credit shall we give Ryan Kesler for getting his old friend Bieksa to waive his no-trade clause and join the Anaheim Ducks?

Well, based on his welcoming tweet, we’ll assume he put in a good word:

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A second-round pick seems like an underwhelming return for a 34-year-old defenseman who’s been a Canuck since 2006, but he had all the cards with his no-move clause; and the Canucks wanted something for him now rather than to see him walk for nothing next summer.

He has a $4.6 million cap hit, but the best news for the Ducks is that he’ll only made $2.5 million in salary this season before hitting UFA status.

(One expects a new contract to come his way in short order from the Ducks.)

This probably means the end of veteran defenseman Francois Beauchemin in Anaheim, as the Bieksa trade gives the Ducks six defensemen. (And a very strong group at that.) Beauchemin made $3.5 million against the cap last season; he’ll have suitors.

Bieksa gives the Ducks a right-handed shot on defense, joining Sami Vatanen.

This is just a great acquisition for the Ducks, even if we don’t know what kind of contract has to come down the pike for Bieksa. You can’t expect he’ll break the bank, what with Vatenen, Despres and Hampus Lindholm all going RFA next summer.

He rejoins his friend Kesler, with whom he pulled one of the greatest pranks in recent hockey history:

And like, Kesler, probably needs to have a nice chat with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry about bygones being bygones.