Ryan Kesler said he’s happy to play anywhere. He just happens to be a lot happier if it’s at centre.

That’s where Kesler finds himself again, after spending almost a month doing little on the wing, where some contend he’s better suited.

But Kesler has gone 12 games without an even-strength goal. It’s bounced him back to the middle of the ice where he’ll start Thursday’s game, centring the second line.

He’ll definitely be motivated to prove it’s where he belongs.

“It allows me to use my speed more on the rush and generate more,” Kesler said. “I make my best plays when I’m moving my feet and skating and that happens when I’m in the middle of the ice.”

John Tortorella has said he thinks Kesler is made for the wing, but the former Selke Trophy winner (best defensive forward) admitted it’s been a learning curve. He’s still not used to it.

He called his experience on the wing a “different game.”

“When you get the puck, you generally aren’t skating and you are facing the boards,” he said. “I just haven’t perfected that position. I’m still working on it.

“I’m going to make mistakes.”

With Kesler at centre, it’s bumped Mike Santorelli to the third line, giving the Canucks their best depth down the middle this season, with Henrik Sedin on the top line, then Kesler, Santorelli, and Brad Richardson on the fourth line.

Canucks eyed Erat

Vancouver did have some tepid interest in Martin Erat, who said he wants out of Washington.

But acquiring him would have to be a pickle-for-pickle type deal with David Booth going the other way.

It’s fun to consider, but unlikely.

There’s a far greater chance the Canucks ride it out with Booth than bet on Erat, who has one goal in 31 games, and that’s while playing in the weaker East.

Erat may be a better skater, but he’s smaller and, at 32, three years older. In their past 82 games played, Erat has scored 10 goals and Booth 18.

Both Erat ($4.5 million US cap hit) and Booth ($4.2 million cap hit) have another year on their contracts.

There is something else to consider. Because Erat’s actual salary dips to $2.25 million next season, his compliance buyout would cost $1.5 million spread over two years. Booth’s buyout is a $3.16 million cost spread over two.

Torts challenges Lui

For the Canucks to get some wins, Roberto Luongo just needs to be more like Ben Scrivens. Say what?

That’s what the coach said.

“I’m not letting Lui off the hook, he needs to help us,” Tortorella said. “I love our goalie. I love our goalies. I think they’ve played really well.

“We also need a save when there is a breakdown. You look at Scrivens (Monday). We had a chance to go up 3-1. We had four glorious scoring chances, he makes four saves.

“We need something like that to happen for us. I’m not putting all the onus on Lui, but he’s part of the problem here as far as closing out games. It goes right through our team and it goes to the coaching staff, too.”

Luongo said the criticism was fair.

“I’ve said it myself, I need to be better,” he said. “I feel I’m playing well, but at the same time I feel I need to come up with the big saves when they are needed. That’s what my job is and there’s no way to get around that.”