Is this Alex Edler’s last season with the Vancouver Canucks?

His agent doesn’t seem to think so.

November 14, 2018

By Nathan Caddell / Photo: Vancouver Canucks/Twitter

It seems like the classic scenario.

Long-time veteran becomes a free agent and the rebuilding team he once enjoyed bounds of success with thanks him for his service.

In that well-tread situation, the club usually tries to recoup some assets for him at the trade deadline before watching him sign a big contract elsewhere.

But while that path seems to be the obvious one for the Vancouver Canucks and defenceman Alex Edler, there are a few complications.

Edler, the longest-serving Canuck on the roster in the wake of Daniel and Henrik Sedin calling it a career, has a no-trade clause in his contract. He also has had no interest in switching teams in the past, so it seems that even a run with a contending team might not be enough to get him to agree to a trade.

Then there’s the situation the Canucks currently find themselves in. Definitely a rebuilding team, few thought Vancouver would actually be competitive this year. Yes, it’s only 20 games in, but the Canucks are holding onto second place in the (admittedly weak) Pacific Division.

Edler has been injured of late, but is expected back to come back in a few weeks from a knee ailment. When he has played, he and Chris Tanev have been the Canucks’ top pairing, and Edler himself put up five assists in 10 games.

It’s hard to imagine a team in the playoff hunt asking their best defenceman to waive his no-trade clause, as was thought to be the plan for the Canucks.

Vancouver Canucks

So while it wasn’t a complete shock to hear Edler’s agent talk about his client signing another contract with the only NHL franchise he’s ever been on, it does mean there a few options at play for the Canucks.

If Edler wants to come back for another year, the Canucks could certainly use the 32-year-old defenceman to mentor some of their younger rearguards, including Quinn Hughes and Olli Juolevi, who should be with the club next season.

On the other hand, if Vancouver can get an asset to help the rebuild at the trade deadline, that would probably be the preferred scenario. Again, though, it comes back to Edler’s no-trade clause.

Edler’s agent Mark Stowe said there haven’t been any talks about Edler’s future with the club yet, but he’s clearly using the media to get across a point. The blueliner would surely have to take less than $5 million a year (his current salary against the cap) on a short-term deal to stay, and it almost definitely wouldn’t have a no-trade clause on it.

Whether Edler would still want to stay with those terms remains to be seen. If he makes it to free agency there will no doubt be teams looking for a power play quarterback to log minutes in the top four, which Edler is still capable of doing.

It’s a tricky situation, and while Edler seems to want to stay in Vancouver, we think there are too many factors at play that will work against him being a Canuck next season.  

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