Ryan Kesler Admits His NHL Career is Over

After successive resurfacing surgeries on both hips in February 2021 and May 2019, Anaheim Ducks 37-year-old forward Ryan Kesler is ready to admit that his NHL career is over. 

"I tried coming back on my first hip, and I was working hard rehabbing and skating," he told NHL.com deputy managing editor Adam Kimelman on Monday. "Then my other hip went and blocked all my momentum. And to be honest, I'm still a far way away from even coming close. I don't think I'll ever get to an NHL level again. I'm just hoping to get to a level that I'm happy at."

Kesler went on to say that in the last couple of years of playing, he hated playing the game because of the constant pain he felt from the nagging injury, which was hampering his performance. He has not played since March 6, 2019, in a game for the Ducks against the St. Louis Blues. 

"Your mind wants you to do it; you just can't do it," he told NHL.com. That's when he said that he realized he required surgery. After that first operation, he returned to the ice and began loving the game again but, "then my [left hip] went, and I was like, 'You know what? I'm not going through this again.'"

Kesler still skates three times a week but is ready to admit he'll never return to his prime. 

"I'm not going to be the guy that's that naive to think I can compete in the League, let alone be myself in the League again," he said. 

According to CapFriendly, Kesler has one year remaining on a 6-year contract signed July 15, 2015, that has gained him an average annual value of $6.875 million. Throughout his career, he has amassed estimated earnings of $70,809,895. 

Kesler was born in Livonia, Michigan, and has moved back to that area with his wife and four children. He coaches his son's 11U team with the Little Ceasers hockey program in Farmington Hills, Michigan. He was also named a volunteer assistant coach with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team Friday.


He will work with the team a few days each week, focusing on face-offs, defensive-zone coverage, and the penalty kill. 

Kesler was originally drafted by the Vancouver Canucks 23rd overall in the 2003 NHL Draft. In 1001 NHL games, he had 573 points, with 258 goals. He won the Selke Trophy in 2011, voted by the Professional Hockey Writers Association as the forward who best excelled that year in the defensive aspects of the game. He won silver with Team USA at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and played in over 100 Stanley Cup Playoff games, scoring 65 points.

Photo: © Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

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