Among the biggest disappointments in the Anaheim Ducks season was Ryan Kesler, who battled through injury to return midway through the year only to be a shadow of his former self. In 44 games, Kesler registered just 14 points and averaged his lowest time on ice in more than a decade. He was visibly not the same shutdown two-way center of the past, and he registered just two assists and six shots on goal as the Ducks were swept out of the first round. Now, in the latest 31 Thoughts column by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the possibility of Kesler missing the entire 2018-19 season is brought up.
Kesler underwent hip surgery last summer in an attempt to solve a chronic issue, but Friedman now reports that he’ll undergo “aggressive rehab and treatment” this time around to try and get back on the ice. There is a chance that he sits out the entire season and tries to return in 2019-20, when he’ll be 35 years old. He still has four years on his contract that carries a $6.88MM cap hit, meaning it’s unlikely he’ll retire either way. But now there is a chance that he could spend all of next season on LTIR should the rehab not work as hoped.
While Friedman doesn’t go into what kind of odds there are of Kesler missing the season, just the fact that he won’t be back at full strength should drastically change the Ducks’ offseason plans.