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Canucks experimenting with Kesler on the wing

Apr 15, 2013, 11:05 AM EDT

ryankeslerisbackgetty Getty Images

The idea to try Ryan Kesler on the wing has been floated numerous times by Vancouver hockey fans.

Kesler — a center that won the Selke Trophy in 2011 — knows he has a shoot-first mentality. So when the Canucks acquired play-making center Derek Roy at the trade deadline, there became the possibility the two could be playing together at some point.

That possibility became reality at the end of Saturday’s 4-3 loss in Colorado, and that’s the way the Canucks practiced Sunday — Roy at center, Kesler on the right side, and Alex Burrows on the left.

Tonight, Vancouver is in Nashville where the trio may be together again.

While Kesler doesn’t seem overly enthusiastic about skating on the wing, he admits the move may help offensively.

“The wing is a pretty easy position,” he said, per The Province.

“At center, you don’t get a break, where at wing you can stand up top and watch your d-man, and really just focus offensively.”

Of course, what the Canucks stand to gain offensively, they may lose defensively. Kesler’s skating and ability to cover so much ice is one of the things that makes him so good against the opposition’s top players. The large majority of Selke winners have been centers; Dallas’ Jere Lehtinen was the last winger to be honored with the award, in 2003.

Roberto Luongo, by the way, will reportedly get the start in goal against the Predators.

Vancouver plays in St. Louis tomorrow.

  1. steverolley - Apr 15, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    On a team with a lot of depth at the wings, you take maybe the best two way center on the team and put him on the wing?

    • nobandwagoners - Apr 15, 2013 at 12:24 PM

      I agree. I think AV’s thinking is, at least in part, to try and get Roy producing. Roy was showing good chemistry with Higgins – and Higgins really benefited from having a good centre feed him the puck – but with Higgins out with his knee, Roy has been pretty much spinnng his wheels without having at least one quality finisher on his wing.

      From my armchair vantage, I just wish AV wouldn’t juggle his lines all the time – stick with a line, let them know the others’ tendencies, and let them work through rough patches when they happen. Not the most re-assuring seeing all this line juggling with the playoffs looming. A healthy Higgins would help with line stability but I guess AV has to deal with what he has right now.

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