Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 7/10/12

OTTAWA, ON - FEBRUARY 04: Alexander Edler #23 of the Vancouver Canucks plays the puck against the Ottawa Senators during the NHL game at Scotiabank Place on February 4, 2010 in Ottawa, Canada. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)
Vancouver’s UFA’s in 2013 – Part 1

It’s going to be a long summer. So over the course of it I’ll be taking a look at some of Vancouver’s players who have contracts set to expire in the summer of 2013. We’ll examine the pros and cons of each player, determine their career potential and where that potential fits in with the Canucks.

Name: Alexander Edler
Contract Expires: July 1st, 2013
Current Cap Hit: $3,250,000

Alexander Edler was a very welcome site when he made his debut for the Vancouver Canucks back in 2006-2007.

As a 20 year old, Edler suited up for 22 games, had 1 goal and 2 assists while averaging 11:27 in ice time. In those 22 regular season games and 3 playoff games that season, fans caught a glimpse into a key part of Vancouver’s future on the back end.

Edler played his first full pro season the following year; suiting up for 75 games, Edler notched 8 goals and 12 assists.

Though Vancouver didn’t make the playoffs that season, Edler was a bright spot in an otherwise bleak year for the team. He saw his total ice time almost double, jumping from 11:37 in his first pro year to 21: 20 in his second.

He was also the beneficiary of a great defense partner and mentor in fellow countryman Mattias Ohlund.

Edler was Dubbed “Little Ohli” by some of his teammates

Dubbed “Little Ohli” by some of his teammates, Alex Edler benefited from the wisdom and experience of Ohlund.

Edler has continually improved his game, and last season proved to be the power play quarterback that the Canucks needed when they were unable to retain Christian Ehrhoff.

Inconsistent – Understatement

The knock on Edler over the years though has been his inconsistency. You wouldn’t know it by looking at his stats, but it’s something he’s struggled with.

Mental lapses in his own zone and the lack of physical play from a player who is billed at 6’4, 201 lbs has drawn the ire of the fans and the media alike.

While Edler is capable of making big hits, quarterbacking the power play and taking on big minutes, it all comes with a degree of uncertainty.

Which Alex Edler shows up that night?

The one who is by far the best defenseman on the ice? The guy who seamlessly makes that all-important first passes out of the zone? A one-man wrecking ball that punishes opponents with hard, bone crunching hits?

Or do you get the timid looking Edler?

The one that can’t keep the puck in, who won’t pinch or make big hits? It’s hard to say. Unfortunately, it’s this inconsistency that has made people doubt if Edler can be a legit top pairing defenseman.

2013 Free Agency Is Calling

It’s hard to gauge what Edler would be worth or even command on the open market.

The fact that there’s no CBA right now makes it hard to guess. But some people have suggested he could command as much as a 10-year deal worth a total of $60 million dollars.

I don’t disagree with that either. It minimizes his cap hit to $6 million, while giving the player and the team a significant term.

However, with that term comes the risk that Edler falls into prolonged slumps and becomes a liability. With that risk is always the reward, and if you’re able to get the best out of Edler, at his age that 10 years and that $60 million dollars will be well spent.

So what’s the ceiling for Alexander Edler?

And is he capable of achieving that ceiling in Vancouver? In my opinion, if he can stay focused mentally and bring his best to the rink every night, there is no reason why Alex Edler can’t be a top pairing defenseman.

He has all the tools to do so.

With Bieksa, Hamhuis and now Garrison in the mix what’s the ceiling for Alexander Edler?

However, I don’t think Edler will reach that ceiling in Vancouver.

With Kevin Bieksa and Dan Hamhuis locked up for another four years each, and Jason Garrison for six, it’s hard to imagine Edler cracking that top 2 while in a Canucks uniform.

That’s not to say that Edler is done in Vancouver after this season, maybe he’s OK with being slotted in the 3-4 pairing.

If he is, his cap hit will have to be on par with the likes of Bieksa and Hamhuis.

Something I don’t know that Edler is willing to do, especially when there are teams that would offer him much more money and more ice time.

Life without Edler

It would suck long and hard to lose a player of Edler’s ability, but that’s the reality of it all. His services will be highly sought after on July 1st, 2013, there’s no shortage of work for a player who has all the tools that Edler has, there’s also no telling how much money could be thrown his way.

If Edler really is comfortable playing the role he’s playing with the team, I’m sure they can find a way to make things work.

If not, well, like I said, no shortage of teams, or money to be thrown Edler’s way.

Can we get some more of these though?


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© Mitch Dyck for North West Sports Beat, 2012. | Permalink | No comment |

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Post tags: Alex Edler, Canucks, Canucks Blog, Canucks Cap Hit, Canucks headlines, Canucks news, Canucks Roster, Canucks rumor mill, Christian Ehrhoff, Dan Hamhuis, free agent, hockey, jason garrison, Kevin Bieksa, Mattias Ohlund, NHL, NHL Free Agency, Salary Cap, UFA, vancouver, Vancouver Canucks hockey

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