Ryan Kesler hasn’t skated in an NHL game since March 2019 when he was with the Anaheim Ducks, underwent resurfacing surgery on his right hip in May of that year, and had resurfacing surgery on his left hip this past February.
While speaking with Adam Kimelman of the NHL’s website, Kesler said he believes his body will never allow him to play at the highest level again.
“I tried coming back on my first hip and I was working hard rehabbing and skating, and then my other hip went and blocked all my momentum,” Kesler explained. “And to be honest, I’m still a far way away to 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.”
The 37-year-old admitted he “hated the game” and “hated playing” his last couple of seasons because of the pain and physical setbacks he dealt with. In total, he played in 15 NHL seasons and accumulated 258 goals and 315 assists across 1,001 regular-season games.
“I can skate, I can demonstrate [drills], I can take face-offs against the kids,” Kesler added. “I’m a lot more functional now than I was before both resurfacings. But at the same time, I can’t run, I can’t do anything that’s pounding. Can I play with my kids and play basketball and jog around a bit? Yeah, but I’m not playing full-court basketball or anything. That stuff [stinks]. I’m still building myself up to hopefully being able to do that, but it’s a slim chance. My body age is like 80.”
He tallied 24 goals and 41 assists in 101 career Stanley Cup Playoff games.