Farhan's $0.05 - The way we used Kesler in 2011 playoffs vs. this year
The way we used Ryan Kesler in the 2011 post-season was THE perfect way to use him in my opinion (although in our case, we were a little too dependent on Kesler and we ended up overplaying him which may have lead to him getting injured down the stretch).
Although Kesler was our #2 center on the 2nd line, he was used to shut down Jonathan Toews in the Chicago series and Heatley's line against San Jose. Even against Nashville, Kesler was used to shut down their top line.......and most of Kesler's goals were a result of playing defense first and then countering after.
Although losing Malhottra sucked, I don't think Manny would have been able to do what Kesler was able to do. Defensively.. Not only that, but Kesler was flat out lighting up Rinne in the Nashville series. We all know that guys like Manny, Pahlsson, etc., can't hold a candle to Kesler's offensive abilities when Kesler is healthy.
THAT is the Ryan Kesler that we need. THAT is the Ryan Kesler that played against Team Canada during the 2010 Olympics. Defensive first, followed by strong offensive chances as a result of great defensive efforts.
I don't know how many people on here remember the start of the 2008/2009 season all that well, but this was also the Ryan Kesler that we saw. At that time, Kesler and Burrows were anchoring the 3rd line..........and were the top shut down defensive line. However - not only were they so damned effective at shutting down opponents, but these guys were scoring lots of goals as well.....to the point where they started getting the equivalent of 2nd line minutes.
The point I'm making is this:
We need THAT Ryan Kesler in our line-up, and we need THAT Ryan Kesler to play in that role. If Ryan Kesler plays that role, then we don't need all 3 of Pahlsson, Malhottra, and Lapierre. One of these three will suffice.
By the way - this was also one reason why I was not a fan of bringing in Pahlsson at the deadline this past February. I knew that once Pahlsson got here, that HE would be the one getting the "shut down" role (him and/or Manny)......which, in an indirect way, would prevent Kesler from being used in the role that makes him most effective. Although both Pahlsson and Manny played the role well, they simply cannot do what Kesler can do. Not only that, but Kesler can actually score playing that role as well.
One thing that irritated me in these past playoffs, was how the Canucks were trying to use Kesler. Kesler is not an "offense first" kind of guy, and his game will suffer when he has that mindset in my opinion.
Kesler should've been the guy shutting down Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, and Justin Williams, as opposed to being made a bitch out of by Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, and Dwight King. THAT is the type of Kesler that we needed, and THAT is the type of Kesler we need going forward in my opinion.
There is a reason why Ryan Kesler is a selke trophy worthy player and not someone like Malhottra or Pahlsson.
I have absolutely nothing against Malhottra or Pahlsson and like both players very much, but I'd rather see the Canucks let both players go to another team while at the same time, bringing in another skilled offensive minded center.
RIP Creeper. You will be missed.