Ducks Without Ryan Kesler and Simon Despres

The Anaheim Ducks will continue their four-game road trip Thursday without the services of Ryan Kesler and Simon Despres. Both have been sent back to California, reports the Orange County Register’s Eric Stephens.

Coach Bruce Boudreau later clarified that Kesler was allowed to return home to deal with a personal matter. Despres is out with an injury.

Despres’s absence may be part of the reason the Ducks recalled rookie defenseman Shea Theodore from the San Diego Gulls on Wednesday.

The Ducks will face Toronto on Thursday, the second game in a road trip against four non-playoff Canadian teams that started with a loss to Montreal on Tuesday.

The Ducks will likely be looking to play it cautious with players in the coming weeks. They’re poised to clinch a playoff berth as soon as Thursday night, meaning that long-term health will be prioritized as the season winds down. Any win or an overtime or shootout loss will get them in. They can also clinch if Arizona loses to Dallas on Thursday.