Recently, Gillis said he hasn't done anything to the 2nd line because there isn't much available. But, I'm starting to think that one of the reasons Gillis hasn't addressed the 2nd line is Cody Hodgson. There's a high possibility he emerges this year and he just might become a main stay on that line even when Kesler gets back. Gillis probably wants to evaluate a possible Higgins/Sturm-Hodgson-Kesler line before jumping to any conclusions that this line won't get it done.
It makes some sense. But this is the year for Cody in my opinion. He has to prove himself or he will be moved. But in fairness to him he hasn't been given a fair chance to prove himself yet. I think he needs to be on the 2nd line and see what he is capable of.
It does seem like Gillis is hoping for big things from his prospects for that second line. There are obvious vacancies there. Mason Raymond has had his tryout for relevance on this team and comeback or not from injury, he is unlikely to turn into the player we need. Highly unlikely.
But I have to say that last year's Stanley Cup final makes Gillis' draft pick of a 5'8" forward pretty questionable. Sure Schroeder might break through this year, but how is he going to have the size to compete and take the physical punishment teams like the Bruins are going to lay on the Canucks' finesse players? Gillis doesn't make a lot of false moves (probably because he's so conservative and careful in the moves he does make) but drafting a Steve Kariya-size forward may show that he misjudged the direction the league was going in. The East may take a long time to leave the neanderthal hockey days behind, and last time I checked, the East is who the Western Conference champ plays for the Cup.