One of the biggest questions concerning the Vancouver Canucks this year has been whether or not Alex Edler, the team’s longest-tenured player and number one defenceman (and it’s not particularly close in that regard), will be back next season.
His contract ends this year, and while Edler is still effective, it’s worth asking how long the 32-year-old will be an effective player in the league.
Right now, the rearguard has 19 points in 30 games. That’s a 52-point pace over an 82-game regular season. That would put him in the upper echelon of offensive defencemen in the NHL.
It’s hard to believe his value could possibly be higher than it is right now. It’s also become somewhat clear that, even though the Canucks have been hot of late (not including getting rolled on by Toronto on Saturday), the team is not likely to make the playoffs.
Will Edler still have serious value when the Canucks are ready to actually and consistently contend for a playoff spot? Maybe.
But the assets they might be able to recoup for Edler (say, a late first-round pick or a prospect) could be useful around that time.
Of course, the blueliner does hold a no-trade clause, which complicates things. And he’s also expressed a desire to stay in Vancouver and play for the Canucks, the only NHL franchise he’s ever been a part of.
That makes it a tad more complicated, and as per Nick Kypreos, it looks like the Canucks intend to take the road less problematic and re-sign Edler.
If Edler really doesn’t want to go anywhere, it does make sense to re-sign him. Otherwise, he blocks a trade and the Canucks lose him for nothing in the summer. And a short-term deal wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. He’s still effective and could help usher in a new wave of Canucks defencemen, starting with Quinn Hughes and Olli Juolevi on the left side of the blueline.
Anything more than a three-year deal (which would be stretching it), would be hard to reason. And of course one would like to see GM Jim Benning trying his best to at least get a couple preferred destinations out of Edler before discreetly shopping him around. (Why wouldn’t he want to go to Tampa Bay or Toronto at the deadline to try and win a Cup?)
Re-signing Edler will be tough to swallow for some fans that are hoping he (and Chris Tanev, who will be an unrestricted free agent in July 2020) can be moved for assets that will help build toward the future.
Certainly, it will be hard to see the Canucks stand pat at this year’s trade deadline. But if they don’t move Edler, that could very much be the reality.
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