With Christmas on the horizon and the decade coming to a close, it is the perfect time to rank the best Canucks of the 2010’s. This is the Canucks Advent Calendar.
Each day until Christmas I will rank one player until we have the top 25 of the 2010’s. These Vancouver icons will be ranked on their statistics, impact on the city and overall play during their time with Vancouver. Rankings will be based on the player’s Vancouver tenure during the 2010’s only, prior seasons with the team will make little impact to the rankings.
4. Ryan Kesler (2003 – 2014)
Statistics: 655 GP, 182 G, 211 A, 393 PTS
For over a decade Ryan Kesler was a Vancouver Canuck. During this time he had spats as a rookie, a fourth-liner, top-six two-way star, a 40 goal scorer and an all-star. Eventually, Kesler would become public enemy number one in Vancouver. However, the fans did love him when he played in blue and green, deservedly so. Kesler was a player that you loved to have on your team, if he was somewhere else, you hated him.
Kesler’s first few seasons saw him play a limited role. He would spend much of his time maturing on the fourth line. Kesler was able to hone his skills and learn from several veterans that were leading the Canucks at the time. Kesler worked extremely hard. He was a fairly physical presence who wasn’t afraid to fight. In his first few seasons Kesler was only a 20 point guy. With this being said, fans had high Hope’s for him as he was a first round pick.
Kesler’s success in Vancouver didn’t occur overnight. It wasn’t until his fourth season with the team that he would show his offensive potential. Beginning in 2007-08, Kesler’s ice time increased to about 19 minutes per game. As a result, his offensive production would grow. Kesler was able to achieve a 20+ goal season and recorded 37 points. At this time fans knew they were seeing Kesler find his game.
Success in Vancouver
Although his 2007-08 campaign was a step in the right direction, it was 2008-09 that showed what a prime Kesler could look like. Now a dependable second line center, Kesler put up an impressive 59 points. Combined with his defensive prowress, Kesler was a candidate for the Selke Trophy. Although he came in third in Selke voting, fans were excited to see what this Canuck could do moving into the future.
The Canucks core was maturing and playing extremely well moving into 2009-10 season. They had built a ton of chemistry and were looking for a deep playoff run. Unfortunately they would run into Chicago for the second consecutive season and lose in the second round. With this being said, Kesler had a phenomenal season with the Canucks. He put up a career-high 75 points and was second in voting for the Selke Trophy.
Regardless of how successful that season was, 2010-11 would prove more fruitful for both Kesler and the Canucks. The Canucks would have their greatest season in franchise history and Kesler would have his as well. Kesler popped in 40 goals which helped him earn his Selke Trophy awarded to the best 2-way player in the NHL. He would play phenomenal in the Canucks cup run. Although Vancouver fell to the Bruins in the finals, Kesler was a stud and played incredibly during round two.
Final Canucks Seasons
Fans didn’t know how the Canucks would play entering the 2011-12 season. They were aging and very beat up in the playoffs. Would they be the same dominant team? Would Ryan Kesler be the same elite player?
The Vancouver Canucks would win their second consecutive President’s Trophy awarded the best regular season team. Unfortunately, injuries from the grueling playoff run would deter Kesler. He scored around half the goals he did in his prior season and would only post 49 points. Vancouver would be upset losing in five games during round one of the playoffs.
If 2011-12 was tough for Kesler, 2012-13 was a lot tougher. Kesler was held to 17 regular season games during the shortened year. The Canucks no longer sat atop their conference and were swept during the first round. Management changes were iminant.
Vancouver would hire a whole new management and coaching staff. This would not help their cause. The Canucks would see a decline in their play again and would miss the playoffs. Kesler recorded only 43 points and would request a trade during the offseason.
Ryan Kesler is one of the greatest two-way forwards in Canucks history. He was instrumental in bringing two President’s trophies and a conference championship home. Ryan Kesler is the fourth most impactful Canuck of the 2010’s.
I hope that you have enjoyed this installment of the Canucks Advent Calendar! Be sure to check back tomorrow for the next player on the list!
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