Farhan's $0.02: Can Ryan Kesler ever be an elite #1 center?

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Farhan's $0.02: Can Ryan Kesler ever be an elite #1 center?

Postby Farhan Lalji » Sat Mar 31, 2012 1:07 pm

Farhan's $0.02: Can Ryan Kesler ever be an elite #1 center?

Let us assume the following: (whether it is has merit or not).

-The Sedin twins will continue to be very good players for years to come, but will not be at the level that they were last year or the year before last year. In other words, Hank and/or Dan will never get anywhere near 112 points per season again, but instead, will become PPG or 0.9 PPG players over the next 3-4 years.

So basically, long story short, the Sedins' will still be very very good players, and will still be GOOD first line players, but they will not be dominating first line players like they were from 2009-2011.....or in the manner that Malkin and Stamkos are at current.

So with that in mind, here are two questions that I have:

1) Does Ryan Kesler have the ability to become a DOMINATING #1 center in the manner that Henrik Sedin was last year and the year before last? (remember - I'm talking about being a DOMINANT #1 center.....in the manner that Malkin is now, or Henrik was 2 seasons ago.........I am NOT talking about as to whether Kesler could be an "acceptable" #1 center or a "very good" # 1 center).

2) If the answer to the above is "no", then do you think it would be a good idea for the Canucks to try and trade for a young elite center in the offseason, that has the potential to become a DOMINANT #1 center in 12-18 months or so?

Here is my line of thought:

-I actually think the twins will still be very good players for years to come (I.e. somewhere between 0.85 PPG and 1.00 PPG players), but I don't think we will see them get 112 points ever again......or ever get above 94 points.........as 1st line players). Maybe 1 more season, but that's about it. Again - it's just my gut feeling.

-With the above in mind, I'm wondering if it would be in the Canucks' best interests to have the twins be "very very good" 1st line players over the next 3-4 years, or have them be DOMINANT 2nd line players over the next 3-5 years?

If at some point in the future, Kesler can be the guy to take over the #1 line and be as every bit as good as Henrik was, then problem solved. The Canucks can then package Schneider/???, etc. to shore up other areas in our line mate......like adding another top quality defenseman.

If however - Kesler isn't capable of being a dominant #1 guy like Henrik was, then my concern is that we won't properly maximize some of our younger players......or if we trade Schneider, etc., for a quality defenseman, our team isn't necessarily better........but just different (think: pouring water into slightly leaking bucket analogy).

Here is what I am tempted to do if it's possible:

1) At season's end, package Schneider, Edler, Schroeder, and a 1st for a guy like John Tavares.
2) Next season, the twins and Burrows still play as our #1 line, but you have Tavares playing with Kassian on another line.....with the two guys building chemistry with one another.
3) Kesler's line becomes the line that is counted on to nullify opposing top scorers from other teams, but is also expected to score goals quite frequently.

Eventually, as Tavares/Kassian line starts getting better, they take over as the new #1 line (circa 2013-2014 season). The Sedins', instead of being "very good" 1st line players, become DOMINANT 2nd line players. Kesler's line becomes one of the best two-way lines in NHL history.

Our entire top 9, even top 12, becomes one of the deepest teams up front in NHL history......and we continue to use that depth to bury teams.

-In net, Luongo continues to be a solid presence and one of the best goalies in the league.

-The Canucks find a way to let go of Raymond, Malhottra, and one of Pahlsson or Lapierre.
-On defense, the Canucks keep Hamhuis and Bieksa as their two main guys. Edler is gone in the package from earlier. Salo plays for a few more seasons. Although his contract is not the greatest, the Canucks keep Ballard to ensure quality on defense (I.e. A way to avoid having to play guys like Rome or Alberts on top 4 incase of injury).

The "calculated risks"

-We take a calculated risk in assuming that Tanev can become as every bit as good as Edler was.
-We take a calculated risk in hoping that Gragnani can become as good as Christian Erhoff was for us last season.

Anyway - that is kind of where I stand.
Farhan Lalji
 

Re: Farhan's $0.02: Can Ryan Kesler ever be an elite #1 cen

Postby Mondi » Sat Mar 31, 2012 1:30 pm

The playoffs start in two weeks baby!
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Re: Farhan's $0.02: Can Ryan Kesler ever be an elite #1 cen

Postby Canuck-One » Sat Mar 31, 2012 1:42 pm

Gee Farhan you forgot to add the kitchen sink in your trade proposal. You gave everything else away.
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Re: Farhan's $0.02: Can Ryan Kesler ever be an elite #1 cen

Postby Farhan Lalji » Sat Mar 31, 2012 1:53 pm

Canuck-One wrote:Gee Farhan you forgot to add the kitchen sink in your trade proposal. You gave everything else away.


Honestly,

I've never been the type of guy to know what would constitute a "fair deal.". In the past when I've created hypothetical trade proposals, I had a tendency to give too little the other way.

A potential elite #1 center is never easy to trade for......and is often times, impossible. That's why i suggested what i suggested. However- this IS the Islanders that we're talking about ( :D ).....and they have been known to play roulette with these types of things. :-p
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Re: Farhan's $0.02: Can Ryan Kesler ever be an elite #1 cen

Postby Farhan Lalji » Sat Mar 31, 2012 1:58 pm

Mondi wrote:The playoffs start in two weeks baby!


If Kesler can play like he did against Nashville last year......throughout the playoffs, then I'll be convinced that Kesler can be our #1 boiiiiiii.

THEN, and only then, would I not care about the Canucks trading for a new elite #1 center and eventually phasing the twins to 2nd line duty if the situation called for it.
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Re: Farhan's $0.02: Can Ryan Kesler ever be an elite #1 cen

Postby TDA Rum » Sat Mar 31, 2012 2:06 pm

If the Islanders add Travis Hammonic, Kyle Okposo, Josh Bailey and their 1st....we have a deal....
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Re: Farhan's $0.02: Can Ryan Kesler ever be an elite #1 cen

Postby Farhan Lalji » Sat Mar 31, 2012 2:27 pm

TDA Rum wrote:If the Islanders add Travis Hammonic, Kyle Okposo, Josh Bailey and their 1st....we have a deal....


Yeah.......I'm not sure about that. I'd love that obviously but we're talking about John Tavares. I don't think the Isle's would do that. Elite # 1 centers are the "holy grail" of the NHL. That, and "can't miss blue chip young defensemen." However - a promising elite goalie also fits that bill. Islanders could definitely use more depth.

In Tavares' case though, he's the face of the Islanders franchise. He's basically what Iginla is to Calgary (I think?), in that, he gives the team some "brand recognition" in a city that might otherwise lose a lot of fans if said person was traded.

For us anyway, Tavares could be everything that we originally wanted out of Hodgson (I.e. A "flexible" player that can easily take over the reigns one day).
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Re: Farhan's $0.02: Can Ryan Kesler ever be an elite #1 cen

Postby Waffle » Sat Mar 31, 2012 3:03 pm

Interesting thoughts Farhan.

Since there are so many variables that go into winning a Stanley Cup, I would think that the question is how could Vancouver ensure that they are a legitimate contender for the Cup, which to me means getting to the Stanley Cup finals repeatedly.

So, does Vancouver need an elite #1 center or defenceman, or both to be a legitimate contender for the Stanley Cup for the next few years?

Previous Stanley Cup winners and who they beat (who were also contenders)....and I will put in brackets which of the player types each team had in my opinion, which others may disagree with of course):

2010-2011...Boston [defenceman]..........(Vancouver) [neither]
2009-2010...Chicago [defenceman]........(Philadelphia) [defenceman]
2008-2009...Pittsburg [center]..............(Detroit) [defenceman]
2007-2008...Detroit [defenceman].........(Pittsburg) [center]
2006-2007...Anaheim [defenceman].......(Ottawa) [neither]
2005-2006...Carolina [neither].............(Edmonton) [neither]
2004-2005...lockout
2003-2004...Tampa [center]................(Calgary) [neither]
2002-2003...New Jersey [defenceman]....(Anaheim) [defenceman]
2001-2002...Detroit [defenceman].........(Carolina) [neither]
2000-2001...Colorado [defenceman].......(New Jersey) [defenceman]


So, based on this list, I would say that the Canucks, given that they have at least adequate goaltending, would be more likely to remain legitimate contenders for the Cup if they had an elite #1 defenceman.

To answer your questions:

1. Ryan Kessler does not have the potential to be an elite #1 offensive centerman in my opinion. He will likely remain as a very good two way center until he has to retire due to his banged up body, which may not be that many years away.

2. I can’t disagree with your comments about the Sedins, and their offensive production over the next few years.

3. Tanev will likely never be as good as Edler on the offensive side of the ice. Whether or not he will be as good defensively remains to be seen. He will likely never be as punishing as Edler can be, but he may be more consistent than Edler has shown. But remember, Edler is only 25, and his best years may still be ahead of him. The question is, at his consistently best, is Edler an elite #1 defenceman? If you want to take a chance on that happening, then you don't worry about your defence and you look for a center.

4. You cannot depend on Salo to play much longer, and there is a good chance that if we win the Cup, he will retire. I suspect the team hopes Tanev will replace him. Will that be a downgrade, at least for a few years? Probably, so you either need Edler to be more consistent, or you need an elite #1 defenceman.

5. We have adequate goal tending in either Lu or Schneider. Considering the goalies in the farm system, it would make sense to improve the team in other places by trading one of them, since they are the asset most likely to get back what the team needs moving forward. There is certainly no one in the system that looks like they could become an elite #1 center, or perhaps even a very good center. I would be surprized if either of them no matter what the package could fetch back a generational center ice player, but there may be dumb GMs out there.

If it was me, and I had the chance to trade for an elite #1 defenceman or the center, I would go for the defenceman. We have seen good defence nullify good offence. I would take my chances on adequate center ice players through free agency or other trades, or even getting lucky in the draft.
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Re: Farhan's $0.02: Can Ryan Kesler ever be an elite #1 cen

Postby Blob Mckenzie » Sat Mar 31, 2012 4:21 pm

Waffle , maybe it's the fact I got hammered last night and my brain is a bit fuzzy but your post seems riddled with holes.

In 05-06 Eric Staal was most definitely an elite centre and so was Jason Spezza in 06-07. How you can say that Colorado only had an elite D-man when Sakic and Forsberg were on the team is beyond me. Did your criteria not allow for teams to have both an elite centre and an elite d-man ?? One could argue Dany Boyle was pretty damn elite in 04 with the Lightning too. Jonathan Toews isn't elite ???

Detroit has always had elite centres.... Yzerman, Fedorov, Zetterburg and Datsyuk say hello. When Anaheim won Nieds was just as important for them as Pronger was.

I really think you are selling Henrik short by not calling him an elite player no matter how poorly he performed in the finals.
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Re: Farhan's $0.02: Can Ryan Kesler ever be an elite #1 cen

Postby Todd Bersnoozi » Sat Mar 31, 2012 4:42 pm

I say no. I think Kes's best asset is his two way play, he has more skill than just being stuck as a 3rd liner, but I think his skill is just a tad low to be a first line elite centreman. 2nd line is probably where he fits best. I think Coho actually has more potential to be that #1 centreman.
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Re: Farhan's $0.02: Can Ryan Kesler ever be an elite #1 cen

Postby Farhan Lalji » Sat Mar 31, 2012 5:10 pm

Great responses guys. Waffle - great post, but I kind of agree with Blob. Also - do you not consider Henrik to be a #1 elite center? /im going by your list).

Here's my thought in regards to getting an "elite" dman vs. Getting an elite center:

As the years have proven in the post-lockout era, teams that win Stanley Cups usually have a strength that is so overbearing, that opposing teams simply cannot deal with it. The strength is so overbearing that it compensates for any slight weaknesses that a team may have (and due to cap restrictions in the post cap era, almost all teams will have a small weakness of some kind).

Maybe it's just me, but it just appears that if teams don't have any massive strengths (despite being well balanced), then they tend not to do much in the post season. So in a hypothetical scenerio where the Canucks acquire an elite defenseman but see a decline from the twins in 18 months, I think it just puts us in a position where we are neither "here nor there.". People will have more difficulty scoring against us, but it would be countered by the fact that we'd have more trouble scoring ourselves. Neither here nor there. You get another elite center however, and the Canucks not only preserve what they currently have........and what has made them successful all these years, but they add to it. Our forwards and goaltending would be set for a number of years. Our depth up front would be ridiculously deep. We then focus our draft efforts on defensemen, and probabilities of us striking big atleast one time would be reasonable.

Anyway - just my thoughts.
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Re: Farhan's $0.02: Can Ryan Kesler ever be an elite #1 cen

Postby TDA Rum » Sat Mar 31, 2012 5:48 pm

So Farhan...are you saying Cory Schneider and Alex Edler aren't blue chip players at their respective positions?
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Re: Farhan's $0.02: Can Ryan Kesler ever be an elite #1 cen

Postby Blob Mckenzie » Sat Mar 31, 2012 5:57 pm

Todd Bersnoozi wrote:I say no. I think Kes's best asset is his two way play, he has more skill than just being stuck as a 3rd liner, but I think his skill is just a tad low to be a first line elite centreman. 2nd line is probably where he fits best. I think Coho actually has more potential to be that #1 centreman.


What league is this in ? Coho is a little lead footed to be a #1 centre in the league considering he's 5ft 10.
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Re: Farhan's $0.02: Can Ryan Kesler ever be an elite #1 cen

Postby dbr » Sat Mar 31, 2012 6:11 pm

All Kesler has to do in order to produce like one of the league's best offensive centers is get back to the pace he put up last year (7th overall) and the year before (11th).

If you're asking if he has the potential to produce more than that - ie. perenially at the top of the leaderboard - of course not.

Anyway the Bruins did alright without an elite, Malkin-like player at center. The cost of acquiring a player headed for that kind of production would be absolutely exorbitant, by the way.
Last edited by dbr on Sat Mar 31, 2012 10:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Farhan's $0.02: Can Ryan Kesler ever be an elite #1 cen

Postby Strangelove » Sat Mar 31, 2012 6:26 pm

Blob Mckenzie wrote:
Todd Bersnoozi wrote:I say no. I think Kes's best asset is his two way play, he has more skill than just being stuck as a 3rd liner, but I think his skill is just a tad low to be a first line elite centreman. 2nd line is probably where he fits best. I think Coho actually has more potential to be that #1 centreman.


What league is this in ? Coho is a little lead footed to be a #1 centre in the league considering he's 5ft 10.


Agreed.

Canuck fan concensus was always upper limit = #2 centre.

GM: Some would say you are jinxing us by talking trade with the playoffs around the corner.

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