Canucks will be without Edler for 4-6 weeks with MCL injury

Oct 15 2017, 2:17 am

This season just got a lot more difficult for the Vancouver Canucks.

Alex Edler, who left the game in the first period on Thursday, is out with a significant injury.

The 31-year-old blueliner has an MCL sprain and will be out 4-6 weeks, the team confirmed on Saturday.

Nobody logs bigger minutes on the team than Edler, so it goes without saying that he’ll be tough to replace. The Swedish defenceman played 25:37 on opening night, followed by 22:58 of ice time in the second game of the season against the Senators.

“Tough news for us,” Erik Gudbranson, who will log bigger minutes in Edler’s absence, said after practice on Saturday. “He’s our leader on the backend. Guys have to step up and we have to be ready for an angry team tonight.”

Edler’s absence should mean more ice time for the other five defencemen, plus the Canuck debut of new acquisition Derrick Pouliot.

Michael Del Zotto, another left-side defenceman, appeared to pick up most of Edler’s ice time on Thursday. If head coach Travis Green keeps that strategy, it could be Del Zotto taking Edler’s spot alongside Chris Tanev on the team’s shutdown pairing. One of Gudbranson or Troy Stecher – both right-side defencemen – should align with the left-shooting Pouliot.

The other Canucks lineup change for their Saturday night tilt against the Calgary Flames comes on forward, as Jake Virtanen will sit in favour of Alexander Burmistrov.

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