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It May Be Time To Re-Visit Kessel at Center

View Poll Results: Kessel to Center?
Yes, try him at C. 4 8.33%
No leave him on the wing, realign the top 9 another way. 26 54.17%
Trade him. 18 37.50%
Voters: 48. You may not vote on this poll

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Old
02-13-2013, 06:18 AM
  #1
Interactif
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It May Be Time To Re-Visit Kessel at Center

It may be Time to re-try Kessel at Center.

As with Claude Giroux, Kessel came to the NHL as Center converted to a winger, last year Giroux was moved back to Center when Richards and Carter were moved out, last year he became one of the most dynamic players in the NHL when Flyers management thought he was ready to step into the role.

Phil Kessel was a Center that was converted to a winger in Boston, often young Centers are broken into the league on the wing until they are mature enough to handle the Center role, Tyler Seguin will be a center one day, Kessel has been so successful one the wing, teams just left him there. But he played Center in his formative years, and was very successful at it enough for scouts to call him the next Crosby.

As a winger there are times he still looks awkward clearing the puck on the around the boards breakout, however last season and this current year, Kessel has shown a maturity to his game that he didn’t possess in the 10-11 season when he was briefly tried at Center with Armstrong and Versteeg as his wingers. A 200 ft game, more grit, and as shown by his 9 assists this year an excellent passer.

Reasons why I think he will succeed, Randy Carlyle has introduced a far more structured team game that will allow players to flourish, though Kessel is thought as just a sniper, he may be miscast as just a goal scorer, he shows a complete game that is better suited at Center. His puck handling and vision will open up holes for his wingers. He has better support now, when Lupul comes back, he and Lupul have a great chemistry together, JVR his current winger is now also showing this same chemistry. Instead of breaking up a Kessel/JVR or Kessel/Lupul combo, simply move Kessel to the middle of JVR and Lupul.

Tyler Bozak has done a good job as the #1C, however a Kessel, Lupul, JVR line may strike fear into the opposition, it has the makings of one of the best lines in hockey.
Kessel’s speed, vision, and playmaking, JVR’s power, speed, and goalscoring ability, and Lupul’s board work, dirty area finishing all around play. This would provide the Leafs a legitimate #1 line they haven’t had since Sundin(another winger turned Center)Roberts, and Mogilny.
Yes, the time may be ripe to try Kessel at Center, often good athletes can play anywhere, we saw it in Team Canada at the Olympics, we saw it in Giroux and Sundin.

A Kessel, JVR, Lupul line may be too logical or enticing to Randy Carlyle to atleast not entertain the thought next time he fills out the lineup card.

It’s a topic that is atleast worth discussing, a good problem to have with the maturity shown in Kessel’s game. One thing we know, Randy Carlyle trusts his players, and he may trust Kessel has the game now to make it happen.

Agree or disagree.

Disclamer-Toronto Star or Sun sports writers, give cred where you got this idea

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Old
02-13-2013, 06:30 AM
  #2
Igy
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No, we have an abundance of centres. If anything, it would be JVR.

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02-13-2013, 06:39 AM
  #3
Peasy
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Yeahhhh no. Have you seen him in his own end? I could never see him get physical behind our goal line to try and get the puck from someone.

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Old
02-13-2013, 06:47 AM
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MajorityRules
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Disagree. I'd rather have Kessel stay on the wing and find a talented center to either feed him the puck or bury the passes Kessel gives him.

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02-13-2013, 06:49 AM
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I dont think itd be a good idea. Not good enough defensively.

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02-13-2013, 06:54 AM
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Terrible idea.

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Old
02-13-2013, 07:07 AM
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Doing that would put all our eggs in one proverbial basket, not to mention we simply don't have room for another centre.

Bozak-Grabo-Kadri-McClement

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02-13-2013, 07:21 AM
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Anyone who isn't defensively responsible, please leave the room...

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02-13-2013, 07:22 AM
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Personally I would rather have JVR playing centre. He is more willing to bang and fight for pucks, not to mention that he goes to the front of the net anyways. If we want to keep Lupul/Kessl and JVR together then JVR seems most logical.

With that said, JVR has produced on every line he has been on so it's not necessary to keep JVR up with Kessel when Lupul comes back.

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02-13-2013, 07:35 AM
  #10
pspot
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agree, its time to revisit Kessel for a C

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02-13-2013, 07:37 AM
  #11
Mystifo
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Why we are already playing good hackey. No need to mess up consistency.

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02-13-2013, 07:37 AM
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Pierre Gotye
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Don't think Kessel is very suited for the defensive responsibility required by a Center, and I'm not sure about his ability to take regular faceoffs as well as Bozak can.

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02-13-2013, 07:48 AM
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Interactif
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I will agree the Kessel of 10-11 would not be a good candidate at Center, the Kessel of last year maybe, the Kessel so far this season definitely yes. Not the same player he was at 23. His playmaking is underrated and perhaps we haven't been using this as much as we should. He's also not nearly as bad defensively as is widely believed.

Kadri was supposed to be a defensive liability too, not under Ron Carlyle.

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02-13-2013, 07:50 AM
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Deebo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Interactif View Post
Disclamer-Toronto Star or Sun sports writers, give cred where you got this idea
It's an old idea


Last edited by blasted_Sabre: 02-13-2013 at 08:06 AM. Reason: play nice
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Old
02-13-2013, 08:27 AM
  #15
The Caveman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Interactif View Post
Kadri was supposed to be a defensive liability too, not under Ron Carlyle.
Kadri and kessel are two dramatically different players. Kadri's defensive liabilities were from inexperience more than anything, as with many offensively gifted centers coming out of junior. Kessel is a scoring winger, that is what he does. And he does it very well. Surround him with better players, sure.

Don't try and turn a cheetah into a horse. Kessel's game just doesn't lend itself to what the center position requires.

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02-13-2013, 08:31 AM
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Someone should tell him it's already been tried and failed, should also tell him that there's no room to do it.

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02-13-2013, 08:32 AM
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I think its definitely worth a shot. He showed last year he can be an effective playmaker and there is no doubt he's matured as a player. Defensive ability is still questioned but I'd give him a shot.

Only issues I see are faceoffs (Bozak is a wizard, Grabovski is decent and Kadri needs work. Move Bozie to the wing and our faceoff ability drops dramatically) and a logjam if Bozak isn't an effective winger (don't know if he's been tried there or not).

Might give Carlyle an excuse to move Lupul back to right wing like he wanted him to stay as in Anaheim.

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02-13-2013, 08:32 AM
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Interactif
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Kessel - Lupul JVR vs Bergeron, Seguin, Marchand
Kadri - Frattin Mac Kelly, Peverley, Bourque
Grabo or Bozak - Komarov Kulemin #3 Shutdown line Krejci, Horton, Lucic
Mcclement-Orr Mclaren #4 line Campbell, Thornton, Paille

Using Boston as a team to match up against.

The Kessel line against Bergeron's may finally be tipped in our favour, only lost 1-0 last game. Having a 3 legitimate first line players on one line, a first in 5 years. I like this match up.

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02-13-2013, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Spasmatic Dan View Post
I think its definitely worth a shot. He showed last year he can be an effective playmaker and there is no doubt he's matured as a player. Defensive ability is still questioned but I'd give him a shot.

Only issues I see are faceoffs (Bozak is a wizard, Grabovski is decent and Kadri needs work. Move Bozie to the wing and our faceoff ability drops dramatically) and a logjam if Bozak isn't an effective winger (don't know if he's been tried there or not).

Might give Carlyle an excuse to move Lupul back to right wing like he wanted him to stay as in Anaheim.
Exactly. Why not? People seem to ignore that it was tried when Kessel had Versteeg and Armstrong as wingers, and he was 23 playing his worst hockey back then, and he was not as complete a player as he is right now.

Good post. I'm sure Philly was happy they tried Giroux at Center last year, he and Kessel have similar skill sets that may be better at Center than wing, Kessel is not simply a sniper as much as some want to peg him into that hole.

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02-13-2013, 08:39 AM
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Interactif
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And again, we read posts Bozak is not a first line Center, but let's not put Kessel, JVR, and Lupul together.

JVR is not a Center, he simply lacks the playmaking of Kessel, Kessel is also a guy that wants the puck, it plays to 2 of his major strengths.

Creativity, puck possession, more ice to work with. Chara will not have as easy a task checking Phil at Center as he does on the wing.

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02-13-2013, 08:42 AM
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If you said this last season, then no. However, times have changed and there is a definite improvement to Kessel's defensive game under Carlyle's system.

That being said, why not consider JVR at centre too?

He was a centre when he was drafted #2 overall. Why not have JVR as centre instead?

I just don't think it's a possibility right now because we have a logjam at the centre position. Also, Bozak has been doing fine and I don't see the need to move him from #1 (that is unless we get a #1 centre in a trade).

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02-13-2013, 08:49 AM
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Interactif
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Quote:
Originally Posted by contour View Post
If you said this last season, then no. However, times have changed and there is a definite improvement to Kessel's defensive game under Carlyle's system.

That being said, why not consider JVR at centre too?

He was a centre when he was drafted #2 overall. Why not have JVR as centre instead?

I just don't think it's a possibility right now because we have a logjam at the centre position. Also, Bozak has been doing fine and I don't see the need to move him from #1 (that is unless we get a #1 centre in a trade).
This is a good question, he's doing well on the wing, anyone will notice Phil and JVR are striking up a good chemistry, why would we want to break them up? This is not so much penalyzing Bozak but maxing out our assets and talent base.

Kessel and Lupul already are very good together, again it's nothing new with other players in the NHL, Sundin was a RW until moved to Center, Giroux also, when a player is ready as Kessel this season is, for those that notice, he is buying into RC's defence first approach. Why not put our most elite player back to his natural position.

Who knows, we may have not seen the best of Kessel yet.

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02-13-2013, 08:56 AM
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johnny_rudeboy
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Am I the only one who does not see this new defensive side of Kessel? He is buying in to the system in some regards and that is a positive but he just dont have that awareness of the defensive game that is required of a center. He even struggle with the easier task of being a winger, defensively speaking.
He, and this is not meant as being negative, will always look for a loose puck with out having to win it by him self, so that he can go on the attack. The same way as he is not a playmaker since his first options will always be to find room for his shot. He is not using his line mates enough to be become a center and even less so to be called a playmaker. That does not mean that he cant make a nice pass, probably one of the best behind Kadri in that department on the team. But hockey is a very fast game and player will always be forced to make quick decisions and Kessels decisions will most likely always be to skate up with the puck and take a shot. And he does not have that ability that good playmakers have either when it comes to slowing the game down.

Giroux might not have a bigger toolbox then Kessel but he is better at using his tools.

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02-13-2013, 09:00 AM
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Interactif
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnny_rudeboy View Post
Am I the only one who does not see this new defensive side of Kessel? He is buying in to the system in some regards and that is a positive but he just dont have that awareness of the defensive game that is required of a center. He even struggle with the easier task of being a winger, defensively speaking.
He, and this is not meant as being negative, will always look for a loose puck with out having to win it by him self, so that he can go on the attack. The same way as he is not a playmaker since his first options will always be to find room for his shot. He is not using his line mates enough to be become a center and even less so to be called a playmaker. That does not mean that he cant make a nice pass, probably one of the best behind Kadri in that department on the team. But hockey is a very fast game and player will always be forced to make quick decisions and Kessels decisions will most likely always be to skate up with the puck and take a shot. And he does not have that ability that good playmakers have either when it comes to slowing the game down.

Giroux might not have a bigger toolbox then Kessel but he is better at using his tools.
Wade Arnott on the Fan 590 today said Kessel has come into this season committed to playing defence, I notice he has even tried to play grittier, last year he was better, this year he has been good on the D side.

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02-13-2013, 09:08 AM
  #25
johnny_rudeboy
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Originally Posted by Interactif View Post
Wade Arnott on the Fan 590 today said Kessel has come into this season committed to playing defence, I notice he has even tried to play grittier, last year he was better, this year he has been good on the D side.
Yeah, he is not cheating as much this season and credit to him for that. But he will have to show a lot more before I call him even average defensively. If he do work really hard perhaps he could become a Parise kind of center (when he was play C) but I doubt it.

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