I'm going to use the first paragraph of this post to shamelessly promote a post on another blog I write for, Canucks Army. It's a Goats and Stars bit, where all 14 or 15 of our fellow writers put in a nod to who will do really good and really bad for the Canucks this season.
In the second and subsequent paragraphs of this post, I am going to discuss why Alex Edler could be the first Canuck defenseman since Doug Lidster in 1987 to record 60 points in a season. That's a long time. 119 seasons of defensemen scoring 60 or more points have been recorded since then. Hell, I wasn't even alive when Lidster had 12 goals and 51 assists. Oh yeah, he was a minus-35 that season as well.
Anyway, two defensemen got 60 points last season: Lubomir Visnovsky and Niklas Lidstrom. The actual number of defenseman who have hit the mark dropped as powerplay scoring has gone down since the days of crazy penalty number the year after the lockout, but it's a target within reach for defensemen who are:
A) Good offensively.
B) Put into situations where they can succeed.
First off, check out Alex Edler's points-per-82 since the start of his career:
2007 - 11
2008 - 22
2009 - 38
2010 - 45
2011 - 53
And his offensive zone start rate since 2008, number taken from BehindTheNet.ca
2008 - 52.1
2009 - 51
2010 - 53.4
2011 - 59.6
So his even strength zone start number has also gone up with his point totals, and he will likely get the "Sedin treatment" this season and play 61.5% of his shifts starting in the offensive zone like Christian Ehrhoff did last season. However, since we can infer that a lot of defensive point totals come from the powerplay, the big mark is this. Check out the amount of time spent playing with Henrik Sedin on the Canucks powerplay last season:
Christian Ehrhoff - 247:29
Alex Edler - 164:33
Granted, Edler spent some time on the shelf last year, and per-game spent 6 more seconds per game on the Sedin powerplay than Henrik. Making up the difference that existed as a result of Ehrhoff's health leading to his situation with the Sedins (10 extra powerplay assists) on the powerplay puts Edler up to 43. Making up for the difference in skill between the two players, as Edler has matched Ehrhoff in points-per-82 over the last two seasons but is four years younger and entering his prime. I'm hoping to make up the difference at even strength and at individual shooting as well. I simply think that Edler has a better shot.
So, weighing these three factors:
A) Even without Kesler for the early part of the season, the Vancouver Canucks should still maintain similar powerplay goal numbers.
B) Alexander Edler will see more 5-on-5 and powerplay time with the Sedins.
C) Edler is moving into his prime and should be healthy all season.
So, adding a poll to this equation, do you think that Alex Edler will get 60 points this season?