He has 20+ goals in each of the last 6 full seasons he's played, including 41 in 10-11 and has shown an ability to rack up the assists if he plays with shooters, all while playing excellent defense. Outside if 06-07 and last year he's played 77 games one year and 80+ every other year and has played in all but one game this year. So how have injuries kept him as a border line checking line player his whole career?
I'd flip one of Nyquist or Tatar for him straight up, or one of the D prospects, plus whatever it takes to make it work cap wise with absolutely no hesitation. The Wings need a guy that teams don't like playing against.
Kesler has had two hip surgeries, a shoulder surgery (all labrum tears), and a broken foot. 4 injuries in 8 years may not have cost him a ton of games, yet, but it also doesn't shout 'durable' for a gritty player like him.
He just seems a little expensive for what he brings to the table. I agree he's a good 2-way center, but his production has fallen off since the 10-11 season you referenced (1 shoulder surgery, 1 hip surgery, and a broken foot later). I don't think he's ever going to become a #1 center and the Wings ultimately need a guy who can put up numbers regardless of who skates with him on the second line as long as Datsyuk is around to log minutes on the top line. Weiss should have been that guy, but this year isn't what was expected (obviously).
I'd love for the Wings to get a guy who opponents don't like to face, but not if it's going to cost too much...