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Canuck Player Autopsy: Alex Edler

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Another injury ended Alex Edler's season and with it really marked the end of any thought of playoffs. And with his injury the transition to youth continued and thoughts about next's year defensive core dance in our heads.

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Who is this guy?

Alexander Ulf Niklas Edler. Nicknames include Eddie…dammit Edler…c’mon Edler

Position: Defense

Shoots: Left

Height: 6'3''

Weight: 215 lbs

Born: April 21st, 1986 in Osterlund, Sweden, home of the famous Moose Garden. No wonder Alex loves Canada.

Drafted 91st overall in the 2004 draft by the Canucks, 167 picks ahead of Pekka Rinne. We could have avoided a whole goalie controversy by drafting Rinne.

What'd he do?

The 2015-16 Canucks defense had so many questions going into the season, but old man Edler was supposed to be the Rock of Gilbraltar (..or White Rock) of the back end. Alex had rebounded from the year before once the evil Torts left and he was expected to get back to the 40 point guy we know he can be. (Although he has only done it twice in his career).

Eddie was put back with his partner from last year, Tanev, and those two combined to take 18% of all the EV defensive shifts. And on the PP Alex was on the ice for over 40% of the shifts by a d-man. While he played, Alex was the workhorse we all know he can be as he played a career and team high 24:27 minutes a game. Alex was 9th in team scoring as he had 6 goal and 14 assists in 52 games. 9 of those points came on the powerplay. Alex was also second in blocked shots behind his teammate Tanev.

This year there was a definite difference in the use of Edler. In years past Edler got lots of time in the offensive zone, even 5 on 5. This year Edler/Tanev was the go to combo in the defensive zone 5on5 and on the PK, so Eddie spent more time defending his own end and it shows in his Corsi dip below 50% for the first time ever. (49.7 in all situations) Alex also lived up to another nickname, Shinguard shot Edler, as he only got 44.8 of his shot attempts through.

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What we really like from Edler.....Goals!!

What we hated/didn’t like?

Alex Edler has only ever played 82 games once in his career and that was the year after the Nucks went to the finals. Edler and injured go hand in hand.  This year it was a broken fibula that ended his season.

Edler can still dish big hits, but as he gets older Alex has backed off going for the big hits. A few suspensions can have that effect on a player’s psyche and that hurts Eddie in his own end.  Alex can get running around in his own end chasing the puck instead of just taking the body.

At the start of the year Alex was put with Weber on the PP.  We all know how that worked out. Having Weber as the main shot on the PP changed the mindset of Alex out there as he was thinking pass before shot.

I miss the Alex that liked to skate the puck up the ice and looked to score.

I hated the 47.1% Corsi 5vs5. Some of it can be due to the fact he is starting more in his own end, but it also shows the weakness of the Vancouver backend, which is carrying the puck out of the zone to create offence.

So what now?

Edler has three years left on his $5 million/yr contract. Alex is supposed to be entering his prime as a defensemen and getting his mantle ready for a Norris trophy.  Ok, I was dreaming there.  I am just hoping for a healthy Edler next year. I think the calls for trading Eddie will die down a bit next year as if we can get him and Tanev back together and maybe sign Hammer for a cheaper rate, we might have an average d-core next year.  I hope the PP gets some re-vamping and Edler’s shot gets used more. With a healthy Sbisa and using Hutton and Groot more on the PK, hopefully Alex shifts back into an offensive role.