Edler's Emergence

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Questions were aplenty in Vancouver this past summer when Christian Ehrhoff left for ‘greener’ pastures in Buffalo. Much of the focus was on who would replace his big booming point shot in addition to his 50 points from the blue line, however many believed such assets were lost for good. Enter Alexander Edler.
 Over the past few years, Edler has quietly become a rock in the foundation of Vancouver’s defense. Partly because he was just one defenseman amongst many. Partly because Vancouver was and will always be a market that scrutinizes their goalie more than any other player. But mostly because, like his fellow countrymen Henrik and Daniel Sedin, he has taken time to develop. Now, in the absence of Ehrhoff, Canucks fans are becoming aware of the offensive talent the big Swede is capable of, an impact that has been in the making for quite some time.

Since his first full season with the Canucks back in the 07/08 season, Edler has more or less been a reliable defender. His physical presence in addition to being a consistent ‘plus’ player has cemented his role as one of the team’s top defenseman. During that time however his point production has also blossomed. A quick look at his point per game production, year by year would appear to confirm this:

Season

Games Played

Points

Points Per Game

2007-2008

75

20

0.2667

2008-2009

80

37

0.4625

2009-2010

76

42

0.5526

2010-2011

51

33

0.6471

Despite the obvious per game improvement, the biggest indicator that Edler is a competent replacement for Ehrhoff is in his power play numbers. Barring another major injury, he’s primed to overtake his previous best 21 power play points with nine already in fifteen games. In comparison, Ehrhoff has failed to spark a Buffalo power play that is operating at a mediocre 16.7%, contributing just two assists. And while it is unlikely Ehrhoff’s cannon of a shot will ever be matched, a fan need not look any further than Edler’s recent goal against Washington to see that it was an asset that was replaceable. Besides a big point shot is what a healthy Sami Salo is for. *Knock on wood*

Ultimately, Edler would appear to be the better defenseman than Ehrhoff. He hits more, is better defensively, and appears to be on par offensively. In the end, the question becomes one of consistency; will he be able to keep producing at the rate the Canucks need him to? If recent results are any sign, the answer is yes and that the solution to Ehrhoff’s departure has been under our noses the whole time.

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Dean Brookstone 

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