I remember when the Canucks signed Malhotra to take over Kesler's defensive responsibilities and allow him to play a more offensive game which resulted in an amazing season for #17
I don't think as many people connect these dots as there should be. Our success all started with Manny that year.
His success allowed Kesler to be relieved of a ton of defensive duties and lining up to shut down opposing top lines... Kesler focused more on offense... his scoring took pressure off the Sedins because teams couldn't just focus on shutting them down.
It was having Malhotra that let the other guys flourish. I like Lapierre but he can't serve the same purpose, neither can Schroeder. Unless we get a 3rd line centre we will have to have Kesler take most of the defensive and PK workload and hope that a speed 3rd line of Raymond-Schroeder-Hansen can pot in some offence.
Not the best configuration for a long playoff run though.