Are the Vancouver Canucks better without Alex Edler in the lineup this year? The Canucks don't appear to be struggling in his absence.
Think about this. There are 767 players that have played in the NHL this year according to NHL.com. Out of those 767, Alex Edler ranks 753 in plus/minus at -12. Mike Stanton is a +4 and Kevin Bieksa is a team high +10, so you can't blame it on the lack of goals.
Now granted, many don't believe in the plus/minus statistic. There is more to the story however.
Alex Edler is an offensive defensemen. The Canucks have him pegged to help create offence, which is why he was on the first unit power play. It's also why he has the highest salary cap hit out of all the Canucks defensemen at 5 million per season.
Out of the top 6 D-men on the Canucks, Edler ranks 6th in scoring with 6 points. Even Stanton has 8 points.
Unfortunately Edler has not helped generate the offence with his untimely pinches that create odd man rushes the other way.
That's not to say Edler doesn't have the potential to be a star in the league. He has shown brilliance at times, just not consistently. Edler's best season came in 2011-12 when he had 49 points and was in the discussion for the Norris trophy. He finished 15th in league voting.
The problem with Edler is that he doesn't show up with his top game every night. We see spurts of him being the Canucks leader on the back end, but there appears to be a lack of motivation. Edler just signed his new contract and has a no trade clause, which doesn't mean he cannot be traded, it just means he has the upper hand if he were asked by GM Mike Gillis to be traded.
It will be an interesting month without Edler in the lineup. Only time will tell if the Canucks need Edler more than Edler needs the Canucks money.
I will leave you with a quote from Torts that sum's up the season before the injury.
John Tortorella on Alex Edler, "That’s when I get angrier with players, it’s how much I know it’s there.
“To make that play (in New York), it was hard for me. We had three scoring chances. We had been fighting uphill all year long. Then we give one away.
“It’s something I don’t want to do. I really don’t. It’s not something I’m preparing to do. But five feet outside the blueline, not getting it out, it needs to get done by a guy of that calibre."
The soft-spoken Edler said he took the benching, and the raging coach, in stride.
“It’s not personal,” Edler said. “We need everyone to play (well) to get the win.
“That’s Torts style. He’s very emotional on the bench. It’s to get you going to help the team.”