Much like the overall performance of the Canucks, the centers on this team have ranged from All-Star-calibre to awful through the first 14 games.
Thankfully, within this group of five centers (Hodgson is a center for the sake of this report card), there has been more positives than negatives. Henrik Sedin is leading by example once again when it comes to point production and Maxim Lapierre has not only been a wonderful pest, but he’s also gone above and beyond the call of duty by chipping in three goals and five points.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, Manny doesn’t seem to be Manny early on this season. He is a minus-10 so far and has been nearly invisible on the ice, aside from the fact he’s been on it for many of the opposition’s goals. The one positive for Malhotra is that he’s still winning faceoffs at a 60 percent success rate, which is one of his best assets.
Henrik Sedin : A-
Henrik is averaging a point per game so far this season. The only thing keeping him from receiving an A is that he’s been even better than that over the last two seasons.
Ryan Kesler: B-
Kesler missed the first five games of the season after having offseason hip surgery, so you’d think he’d be slow out of the gate before rounding back into form. In fact, it’s been the opposite. Kesler played with a ton of energy in his first few games, but since then he hasn’t looked quite the same, as he’s struggled to gel with the influx of new linemates.
Manny Malhotra: D
As long as they’re still on the team and haven’t been waived or scratched multiple times, I’m not giving anyone a failing grade. However, Manny Malhotra is close. He has been thoroughly outplayed by Maxim Lapierre and has looked nothing like the player we saw last season before his eye injury.
Cody Hodgson: B
Hodgson has been solid so far in his rookie season with the Canucks. He hasn’t looked out of place in any position that Alain Vigneault has put him in and he has generated plenty of chances offensively. A few more points would be nice (he has five so far), but aside from that, the Canucks' first-round pick in 2008 has looked good.
Maxim Lapierre: A-
Saving the most pleasant surprise of the season for last, Mad Max has been wonderful. As I stated earlier, he’s been great in his checking and agitating role while chipping in more than his share of points at the same time. His two-goal performance against the Washington Capitals last weekend highlighted what a great start to the season he’s having.