Canucks: draftee Ryan Kesler

By Brendan Macgranachan



Centerman Ryan Kesler is one of the
newest members of the Vancouver Canucks organization. Kesler, a native of Livonia, Michigan, was
the Canucks first pick, (23th overall) in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. 
He joins Ohio State University teammate R.J. Umberger in the organization.
“R.J. never said anything (about the organization)”, Kesler said, “It feels
good to be on the same team as R.J., we complement each other real
well.”

Kesler was ranked 16th among North American
skaters by CSB and was projected to go a bit higher than when he was selected.
“I was nervous (waiting to be called). As the picks go on and on, you ask
yourself, ‘When am I going to get picked?’ I’m glad I got picked in the
first round, it took off all the pressure,” he said. “You just got to keep
it positive.”

Kesler is a hard checking, two-way player that can
place the puck in the net. Before
heading to OSU, Kesler spent two season on the U.S. National U-18 Devlopment
Program. He lead the U-18′s in scoring last season with 19 goals and 43
assists for 62 points and sat 30 minutes in the box. He also won gold
at the IIHF World U-18 Championship, silver at the Three Nations Cup and
was golden again at the U-17 Challenge. “I always wanted to play in the
Ontario Hockey League. My rights belong to the Brampton Battalion so I
wanted to play there. but things never worked out there. Playing with the
National team I think changed my mind to go to college.”

Kesler joined the Buckeyes for the 2002-03 season.
He had a strong freshman year, netting 11 goals to go along with 20 assists
in 40 games. The Buckeyes finished 3rd in the CCHA with a 25-13-5 record.
The finished behind Ferris State University (31-10-1) and Michigan State,
lead by Jeff Tambellini, (30-10-3). “We started off strong than tailed
off towards the end. We had a hard 1-0 loss to Boston College to finish
our season.”

Kesler told HF that he is most likely to stay in
school and take the same route Umberger did, stay 2-3 years and develop.
“I’m just contractating on getting better right now. If I’m back in school,
I’m back in school. I’ve haven’t thought about it much.”

Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM
2001-02 US Jr. Team ————- 13 5 5 10 10
2002-03 Ohio State Univ. NCAA 40 11 20 31 44