Pacioretty Should Study Kesler


Ryan Kesler has turned a huge corner. The feisty Canucks power forward had already been a good and important player for several years, but this season, and in these playoffs, Kesler has taken things to another level and has become a bonafide superstar on a real good team.

The type of player Kesler is – big, strong, nasty, with both a scoring and checking touch, is the type all teams dream of having. Guys like this don’t come along often, and when they do, you see how they can elevate an already good team. Imagine – tough, nasty, and 41 goals this season to boot. A guy who plays at both ends of the ice. A guy who puts on a hard hat and work boots and scores with the best of them.

Coach’s must drool. And Habs fans should drool. Imagine Kesler in the Canadiens lineup. Or imagine someone similar in the Canadiens lineup.

If they’re rare, it doesn’t mean they’re extinct, and the Montreal Canadiens just might have a Ryan Kesler-type player all their own. It’s just not quite time yet.

Max Pacioretty knows how to score, and knows how to grind it out when things need grinding. He’s several years younger than Kesler (22 to 26), and is of similar size – Kesler is 6’2, 195 pounds while Max is 6’1, 203 pounds. Kesler didn’t set the world on fire in his early years with the Canucks, he’s been a Vancouverite for just over seven seasons, while Max has managed only bits of three seasons in Montreal and hasn’t yet settled in to be the player we need him to be.

Of course, there was that moment in time when Max was almost killed by a Boston behemoth, so his progress has been stuck in neutral for awhile. But temporary setbacks are only that – temporary. We expect our guy to come back in a big way. And we expect him to come back with a burr up his ass.

Pacioretty has what it takes to be a player like Kesler, and this has to make Habs fans excited. If Max can turn it up a notch, think of how the dynamics of the team would change. A big, crashing power forward helping out with the scoring. Please pass the valium.

If you’ve been watching the Canucks in the playoffs or checked them out in the regular season, you’ve seen just how important number 17 is to his team. The Sedin’s are smooth and dangerous with the puck, but it’s Kesler who never hesitates to battle in heavy traffic, snarling and being downright nasty, playing with a swagger, driving other teams to drink, and as the icing on the cake – scoring and scoring often.

This is what Montreal needs. A player who dives in and comes out bloody, sweaty, sore, and with the puck. A guy opposing players hate to play against. A guy with obvious over-the-top determination. And a guy with hands of gold.

Max needs a couple of full seasons under his belt before he can be expected to be a game-breaker. But he was on his way when THE INCIDENT happened and it’s now back to square one again. But he’s the guy we need big things from, beginning next season, and if he can be a player similar to Ryan Kesler, we’ve got a beauty on our hands.

It really is something to look forward to.

4 thoughts on “Pacioretty Should Study Kesler”

  1. I would disagree on the Kesler comparison myself, he’s taken a backseat offensively for a while because he’s the 2nd line C on Vancouver and sort of de facto, their defensive forward Centre which he does very well, he’s in the running for the Selke again and as a C, he possesses the much-sought after talent of a Top-6 Centre who can win faceoffs. He improved his offence this season yes, but it’s partly because he was playing as a defensive forward, which as we see with Plekanec, requires sacrifice for the most part before you can mix O and D effectively. I would say Kesler is going to be a more complete player (which is no insult to Patches) but at the same time, this is the first time in a long time Kesler is coming up big for VAN in the clutch, his previous years in playoff goal-scoring have been dreadful.

    I would more closely compare Pacioretty to being Montreal’s version of Bobby Ryan or Chris Stewart, a power forward winger with a great stride, a fearless attitude mixed with the very rare ‘nose for the net’. Ryan was drafted in 2005 and had his coming-out party in 2008-2009. Patches was drafted in 2007 and had his breakout in 2010-11. There’s also Chris Stewart in STL, formerly of COL who after going in the 2006 draft, broke out in 2009-10.

  2. Hi Robert. Kesler had 41 goals this season with five so far in the playoffs, along with being a rugged, in-your-face power forward, so it’s all come together for this guy. I was trying to convey that it took Kesler seven years for his coming out party, and anyone who can score while playing such a hardnosed way is something Max can strive for. More than anything, I like Kesler’s nastiness, and how nice would it be if Montreal had someone like that? Bobby Ryan is a great player, Chris Stewart I know very little about, but in my mind, Kesler’s the one because of his combination of hands and belligerence. I just want Max to add a new dimension to the Habs. I’m tired of hearing how small and soft on the front end and slow on the back end. Max gives me hope. I’m trying to think, if Kesler’s taken a backseat offensively, who he’s taken a backseat to? It’s not the Sedin’s.

  3. The thing is Dennis is that in Kesler’s previous 23 playoff games, he had 3 goals, he didn’t do much of anything for scoring in the CHI-VAN series when it went to 7 games and nearly a disasterous upset for the VAN organization. I get the idea but my point is he’s not a good comparable to Pacioretty b/c of their style and position, Kesler is a defensive forward for most of his career by trade, as noted by his Selke nomations and PK TOI in which he’s twice averaged over 3 minutes per game in 2008, 2009 and at least over 2:30 in 2010 and 2011. Kesler’s a more complete player so it has taken him longer to round out his game (he had strong O numbers in NCAA hockey) as he was always 2nd-line C to Henrik Sedin so he had to take less PP time and less ES time and it didn’t let him grow as much offensively.

    I’ve seen Pacioretty play in both the AHL and the NHL, he had a pretty hard-nosed style with Hamilton, but now that he’s filled out physically he’s able to take that game to the NHL. Much like Stewart or Ryan I would argue, power forwards who needed three years from being drafted to be ready for the NHL. These are guys who power to the net, beat defenders with their great stride and have a powerful shot that lets them finish and the strength to hang in there and fight for loose pucks. We’re going to see more of those guys in Pacioretty than Kesler IMO, as Pacioretty’s development is rooted firmly in what he’s doing now and what they are doing today.

  4. He pretty much already does for the Habs what Kesler does for the Canuck’s…minus the defensive side (’cause that’s Plekanec’s job) and the stupidity (bad penalties and putting pucks in nets after whistles like a tool). Actually he’s more like his pal Van Riemsdyk, only I find he’s got a stronger mental side (I point to all those self-help books he reads). In the short time he played up here this year we only saw a tease of what he can do (stupid Chara).

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