The Vancouver Canucks are enjoying a solid a first half of the 2010-2011 NHL season, sitting alone at first place overall. Much of the success can go to the solid play of the dynamic duo in net with Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider.
You could also point the finger to the Sedins for the Canucks sudden uprise. Both are on pace for 100-plus point seasons and chip in almost every game. From the first line to the last defensive pairing, this Canucks roster is deeper then any team in the league, and the emergence of second-line center Ryan Kesler might just give this club the extra kick it's been needing to get over that playoff bump.
Ryan Kesler has been the focus of this year's Canucks and seems to be making a name for himself around the league by being selected to the 2011 All-Star team alongside teammates Henrik and Daniel Sedin. His play has been taken to the next level.
With already 24 goals in just 43 games, the Michigan native is just two goals shy of his career high of 26. His offensive outburst hasn't taken away from his always sturdy defensive game play. He is always a threat on the penalty kill and has been tenacious on his for-checking.
Ryan Kesler has evolved into not only the player the Canucks hoped for when picking him 23rd overall in the 2003 entry draft, he is now being mentioned as the best two-way forward in the league and a possible Selke winner.
But in early 2006, the Canuck then wearing the No. 20 almost moved his skates to Philadelphia.
On September 12, 2006 the Philadelphia Flyers' then-GM Bobby Clarke offered the former Buckeye a one-year, $1.9 million contract. Kesler signed, and who wouldn't? Ryan Kesler who was a group two free agent, coming off a subpar season after posting 10 goals and 13 assists, expecting to make close to $1 million in the '06-'07 season.
No one blamed Kesler for the sudden change of heart, including then-teammate Brenden Morrison, who said, "Who wouldn't accept that offer?" The Canucks had seven days to make a decision to keep Kesler, and they decided that another year in the city of Vancouver was needed for Kesler and the club.
Could you imagine what the Vancouver Canucks would look like with out the likes of Ryan Kesler? Not only would it change the shape of the franchise today, but it could have been the biggest mistake in club history.
The Vancouver Canucks wouldn't have one of the best second-line centers in the league, and the production of the Sedin's could have altered due to the fact of the invisible second line threat. The Canucks would simply not be the same team.
Kesler not only brings his skills to the table, but he brings heart. The desire that Kesler shows has given him the "A" on his jersey, and some complain that he should have been the choice for team captain.
But for now, the city of Vancouver takes him the way he is. Simply cause he's playing great. Looking back on September 12, 2006, the Canucks had a major dilemma in front of them. Luckily, the team made the right choice in keeping Kesler, or this city might have had a different looking team for years to come.