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Anaheim’s Ryan Kesler will represent Ohio State in the first round of the 2018 NHL playoffs

There is only one Buckeye competing for the 2018 Stanley Cup, and he’ll take the ice for Game 1 on Thursday.

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Vancouver Canucks Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off statistically the worst season of his career, Ohio State Hockey alum Ryan Kesler is looking to turn it up at the right time for his Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks take on the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the 2018 NHL playoffs.

In Game 1 of the series, Kesler saw 17:26 of ice time, with four penalty minutes and two shots on goal. The Ducks fell to the Sharks, 3-0.

Kesler, a 6’2 center, is coming off an off-season hip surgery that has sidelined and hampered him for part of the year. This comes after last season, when he reached his second All-Star game and was a finalist for the Selke Trophy as the best defensive-forward in the NHL. He clearly has the skills to succeed and lead his Ducks far in the playoffs, and just has to rediscover his game after the rocky regular season.

Kesler starred for Ohio State in 2002-2003 where he amassed 31 points for the season and was subsequently drafted No. 23 in the first round of the NHL draft by the Vancouver Canucks — the only current NHL Buckeye to be drafted in Round 1. Since his time as a Buckeye, Kesler has won a silver Olympic medal, been to 2 NHL All-Star games, won the U20 World Junior Cup Gold Medal, and in 2011 won the Selke Trophy.

The Livonia, MI native was a very consistent producer for Vancouver and for the past 4 seasons in Anaheim. On top of his production, he has been an assistant captain for both teams. At age 33 it’s unclear how much longer he has in the league, but one thing is for certain, he will go down as one of the best Buckeyes to play in the NHL.