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I must first confess—as much as it pains me to admit—I had money on the Anaheim Ducks winning the Stanley Cup in my playoff bracket last season. As embarrassing as this is, to lose $20 betting on a Ducks team who lost in the very first round to the Nashville Predators, there was method in the madness.

You see, the Ducks had a mighty weapon, and that weapon was Ryan Kesler.

If his stats don’t do the talking, his fists will:

‘Dropping the mitts’ in the first 30 seconds of the game isn’t the only way Kesler’s finding his way on the score sheet either.

CBS Sports writes:

“Kesler is off to a solid all-around start. The 32-year-old has already recorded four points (one goal, three assists), while defensively chipping in 15 hits and seven blocked shots over the Ducks‘ eight games this season. Last season, the defenseman tallied 53 points (21 goals, 32 assists), as well as 168 hits and 92 blocked shots in 79 games played.”

Did I mention he’s deadly in the faceoff circle too?


Photo by: Kris Krug

As his statistics show, Kesler is an all-around player. Whether it’s sniping from high slot, playing the body, or getting that last-ditch stick in on the backcheck, Kesler’s your man.

He may not be the most skilled player, but he has the heart to make up for it.

Kesler writes in The Players’ Tribune:

“To this day, I’ll look across from a Toews or a Kopitar and I’ll say to myself, Okay, you’re more skilled than me. But you’re not going to outwork me tonight. It’s not gonna happen.

American hockey, to me, is blue-collar. It’s about doing the things that nobody else is willing to do. Make the dirty play. Make the play that hurts.”

The fact is: Kesler is a dying breed of blue-collar, ol’ time hockey, workhorses that might just be the type of player the Anaheim Ducks need if they want to advance further in the postseason (further than the first round at least).

That’s why Ryan Kesler is my Player of the Day.