Rear-guard reaches career tipping point
We have all been guilty of fantasizing about it for a long time. I’m not talking about landing millions of dollars in an unexpected lottery jackpot, scoring a date with Sofia Vergara, or even squeezing a straight answer out of coach Alain Vigneault.
What we have all been dreaming of is seeing Alex Edler confidently assume the role of the undisputed premier blue liner for The Vancouver Canucks.
Team supporters have long mused that Edler would develop into a perennial Norris Trophy candidate.
That fantasy though is looking much less certain at this point following a troubled playoff run.
His skills are undeniable, and at times he tantalizes members of the organization with his jaw dropping hits and heavy shot, but the quiet Swede too frequently shoots himself in the foot with awful giveaways and inopportune penalties.
The series versus LA featured back to back games wherein Edler’s overly casual puck handling led to game changing goals for the Kings. Both goals have been dissected ad nauseum in the press and on the internets, with good reason.
They are the kind of casual elementary level errors that an elite player cannot afford to make if he wants to lead his team to ultimate glory.
Can he be a #1 D-Man? (Photo - Jeff Vinnick/NHL/Getty Images)
The standard for all Swedish defensemen to be measured against is the Detroit Red Wings’ Nicklas Lidstrom.
He does not have all the physical blessings bestowed upon Edler, but through the years he has maintained a steady and commanding presence on the Detroit blue line borne of determination and steely emotion.
Lidstrom has extracted every ounce of his ability and pours it into his play as efficiently as anyone who has ever played the game.
This is where Alex Edler falters. His calmness is an asset to a point, but without that fire and focus in his game, he appears to not be able to set and embrace a personal standard for himself. Emotion can be a fine edged sword.
Too much of it can lead to rash decisions, too little inhibits us from reaching our potential.
In this off-season of turmoil, GM Mike Gillis and the management of the Canucks will be evaluating all facets of the team, looking for ways to improve the roster to attain that final goal.
Rumour is already circulating that beyond Roberto Luongo, other prominent names such as David Booth and even Ryan Kesler will be discussed and proposed for movement and the returns they could bring.
It is not unreasonable that Edler’s name will be thrown into the mix.
The surprise trade of Cody Hodgson made it clear that no Canuck player’s name should be considered off the board in this era.
There is time for Edler to find his way, as he just turned 26 last week.
But that also makes him the same age as Shea Weber, who is currently dragging his team by the scruff of its neck towards a likely place in the Finals.
Given the choice of having either Edler or Weber at this point, I believe that Canucks fans would increasingly prefer the current Predator over the Swedish rear-guard.
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© C-Mac for North West Sports Beat, 2012. |
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Post tags: Alain Vigneault
, Alex Edler
, Cody Hodgson
, David Booth
, detroid red wings
, LA Kings
, nick lidstrom
, Roberto Luongo
, Ryan Kesler
, Vancouver Canucks