That really just leaves Dale Weise and Max Lapierre. I think Weise is an every day NHL player at this point and would be happy to have him back even if he's not tough enough to be a goon or talented enough to play up the lineup; he may not truly excel in any of the roles fans have in mind for him but he's big and fast enough and is improving as a role player. Lapierre, he's capable of so much more but most of the time the guy is a run of the mill fourth liner - which is fine because we need one but if the organization wanted to move on for philosophical reasons I could certainly get behind that.
I wouldn't mind having Weise back since he's been relatively durable for the type of game he plays, but really the team should look for an upgrade. I don't think Weise is an every day NHL player as he's just a big body who isn't all that tough but is more skilled than the average 4th liner. I like Lapierre and want him back. He plays center, hits, can take faceoffs, and has been pretty durable. He had a disappointing playoffs but he's had some strong ones in the past.
I have concerns about Kesler. He players hard, and is obviously a great two-way player, but really he is a skinny guy who plays all out which leads to injuries. He thinks he's better than he is. That 41 goal season (with 15 power play goals) went to his head, and now he shoots every chance he gets like he thinks he's Steven Stamkos, which I think also makes him one dimensional.
This is the first time I heard of Kesler being described as a skinny guy. I think Kesler at his best is a unique player, but he has always been one dimensional. Kesler's offensive game really has evolved since Demitra (RIP) left. When Demitra was here, Kesler would let Demitra have the puck and he would go to scoring areas. Since Demitra, Kesler's power defensive game took over. Kesler at his best is a force, but his game involves him powering his way through the other team's defense, causing turnovers, and using his wrist shot. It's not about making fancy plays or looking for the best shot but applying constant pressure and hammering away. Kesler was never a playmaker to begin with but unfortunately he's now at his best when the puck is on his stick. That's why it's so hard to find linemates for him. It's also why Higgins has had the best chemistry with Kesler. Higgins doesn't carry the puck up ice. He won't lose the puck or diffuse the pressure the way Raymond would. He is at home picking up loose pucks, cycling the puck and driving to the net. Constant pressure! If Kesler shoots and misses Higgins can get the puck and keep the pressure on until he can shoot or Kesler can shoot again.
Kesler needs a playmaking winger who carries the puck while he attacks the slot and gets into shooting positions for one-timers and snap shots. Honestly, a Marty St. Louis type would probably make Kes a 40 goal scorer again.
I think a playmaker on Kesler's line can work, but it needs to be a smart guy who can make quick passes who doesn't need to have the puck constantly on his stick.