2011-12 was a disappointing season for Kesler offensively. After a career-high 41 goals in the previous season, 22 goals was a massive step down, even considering that he missed training camp and much of his offseason training recovering from surgery.
Really, we shouldn’t be surprised. Kesler’s shooting percentage during his 41-goal season was 15.8%, the highest of his career and well above his career shooting percentage up to that point. Combine that with the highest offensive zone start percentage and lowest quality of competition in years (enabled by Manny Malhotra) and a bump up to the first unit powerplay with the Sedins and you have a perfect recipe for a career year.
This season, everything regressed. Kesler’s shooting percentage went down to 9.9%, the lowest it’s been in five seasons. Malhotra wasn’t the same player he was before his gruesome eye injury and Hodgson wasn’t trusted in the defensive zone, forcing Kesler to retake some of his old defensive responsibility. And the Canucks powerplay, while still one of the best in the league, went from 24.3% to 19.8%.
Still, Kesler had his fifth straight 20+ goal season, so all is not lost. Here are Kesler’s first 11 goals of the season:Continue Reading —›