Ryan Kesler called last season painful and knew it was time for change. Nick Bonino is calling next season hopeful and knows versatility is his calling card.

In a perfect world, Bonino is probably a third-line NHL centre. But it’s not a perfect world in Vancouver and the Canucks are spinning into another orbit by clearing salary cap space and setting themselves up to hopefully be somewhat of a player in free agency and more competitive in the coming years.

So, for now, Bonino is the second-line centre to replace Kesler. Call him Kesler Light. The Canucks dealt their leading scorer to the Anaheim Ducks on Friday morning for Bonino, 26, defenceman Luca Sbisa, 24, and the 24th pick in the 2014 draft. They also swapped third-round picks and sent it to the New York Rangers for grinding winger Derek Dorsett. Not sure how all that is going to address a dire need for offence because the Canucks were ranked 26th on the power play and 28th offensively. But in Bonino they get a centre/winger with a high hockey I.Q. who can make smart plays, is good down low and scores clutch goals. He’s coming off a career high 22 goals this season and knows what to expect in the ultra-tough Pacific Division. He’s also a good cap fit at $1.9 million US the next three seasons, but he doesn’t have Kesler’s wheels or grit.

“I think all my life I would say I’ve never been a bad skater, but some guys skate real well and I’ve been one of those guys who gets by with his head and his hands,” said Bonino. “Trying to make plays, being responsible — that’s what I’ll keep trying to do.

“At this point in my career, I’ve kind of done whatever a team has needed me to do. I think every centre’s goal is to be as high on the depth chart as he can be, so I don’t want to say anything about where I’ll play in the lineup because that’s not for me to decide. You want to play and get ice time and this is a great opportunity for me.”

Especially with the Canucks trying to change their culture. They want to be skilled but also tougher to play against. Bonino, Dorsett and winger Linden Vey, 22, speak to that. Vey is a former 46-goal, 116-point WHL standout whom the Canucks got in the second round Saturday from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for the 50th pick they received from the Tampa Bay Lightning in an exchange package for Jason Garrison.