Future Free Agents: Alex Edler

With all the talk about NHL Free Agency, Vancity Buzz takes a look at who the Canucks have eligible for free agency next year. This short series concludes today with defender Alexander Edler.

Alexander Edler
Current Cap Hit: $3,250,000
Previous Seasons Stats:
2010 – 76 GP/5 Goals/37 Assists
2011 – 51 GP/8 Goals/25 Assists 
2012 – 82 GP/11 Goals/38 Assists

After steadily increasing his point per game totals over the years, Edler regressed a bit despite posting career highs in goals and assists. The production is important in showing that the Canucks’ don’t necessarily need Christian Ehrhoff, but Edler shot the puck way more than he’s used to, shooting 228 times, much more than any previous season. The increased shot totals for Edler likely were an attempt to make up for Ehrhoff’s departure, but with Jason Garrison’s arrival, some of the pressure to shoot should be taken off of Edler.

What is more concerning to the Canucks’ has to be his inconsistent defensive play. There were many times when Edler was caught out of position last season and those mistakes often ended up with the puck in the back of the Canucks’ net. This may have been a case of Edler trying to do too much too often; case in point, he nearly doubled the amount of hits he had from two seasons ago and had 145 blocked shots, 30 more than his previous high.

What the Canucks need is for Edler to return to form. That means keeping his point production up without taking away from his defensive game. With a strong supporting cast of defenders, Edler should have no problem accomplishing this.

Prediction: Four year deal worth 4.6 million a season

If there’s a lockout: Unless he asks for a significant amount of money, management will try to keep Edler a Canuck. A deal worth around the same amount as the other defenseman are getting (Garrison, Hamhuis, Bieksa) is the most likely offer.