Being loyal is a noble trait.
But if the people you are being loyal to, do not reciprocate the gesture, well, that is when feelings get hurt.
This seems to be the case for veteran Canuck Kevin Bieksa.
The Canucks drafted Bieksa after his freshman year at College. After three more seasons at Bowling Green State University and just over a season worth of games with the Manitoba Moose, number three has spent a decade here in Van City.
He turned 34-years-old, ten days ago.
The man they call “Juice” played 60 games this past season, missing seven weeks with a broken hand. In the playoffs he was sick, but also got bumped around by Michael Ferland and the Flames. He played two-and-half-minutes less per game compared to his regular season average. He looked a step slow.
Bieksa’s salary drops to $2.5 million dollars this season and it is the final year of his contract.
As most athletes know, or eventually find out, Father Time is undefeated. I think Bieksa knows he is not a top four rear guard anymore.
Kevin Bieksa has been a loyal Canucks soldier. When Ryan Kesler was two-faced, professing his love for Vancouver while forcing a trade to Anaheim in the year of Torts, Bieksa always stated he wanted to stay and ride out the storm.
The Canucks publicly said today they have not asked Bieksa to waive his no trade, but Farhan tweeted Bieksa has agreed to waive if the right deal comes along.
I’m sure the Canucks would be ok with Bieksa playing a reduced role and mentoring the young defenceman for one season.
But after that he will be a free agent, and at 35, I don’t think he will be in GM Jim Benning’s plans.
This is professional sports. Loyalty or not, Kevin Bieksa is finding out, it will be the Canucks or another teams call on his NHL future.