Alex Edler: Rise of the Norris Quality Defenseman
After being unranked heading into his draft year, Alex Edler wasn't really on anyone's radar. When the Canucks drafted him 91st overall in 2004 he was quite the unknown for a fan base that likes to know everything about all of its players.
It wasn't until 2006-2007 that Alex Edler got his first taste of NHL hockey. That year he played 22 games and registered three points. While he wasn't spectacular, he didn't make any glaring errors. Fans could see that Edler had the potential to be a mainstay on the Canuck blueline for years to come.
From the beginning, it was incredibly apparent that Edler wasn't your average offensive defenseman. What does that mean? It means that he didn't make many mistakes that lead to oddman rushes for the opposition. He was always very solid and responsible on both sides of the puck.
In the next few years, fans and the rest of the league would come to respect his slap-shot to no end. He could fire the puck with the best of them while remaining calm in high pressure situations.
It's nice to have a solid blueliner, like Edler, on the Canucks. He is young, mobile and effective nearly every time he takes to the ice. That being said, how does this lead us into the transformation of a superstar?
For me, Edler's game really started to change when the Canucks took on the Los Angeles Kings in the playoffs a few years ago. That's when Alex Edler started to bring the physicality that fans have come to love. When he took to the ice for his first shift of game one, he hit everything in sight. The atomsphere in the former General Motors Place was electric. Who was this guy and what had he done with Alex Edler?
Since that moment we've seen a player really come into his own. By no means is he going to drop the gloves and fight anyone, but he can stand his ground and be a physical player in the league.
All of this came to a point this season where people started mentioning him in early Norris conversations. Right now, Edler is playing at a point per game pace. Do I expect him to continue that? Not a chance. However, I do think that he can finish with 50+ points making Canuck fans forget all about that guy named Christian Ehr....Ehr....Ehr?
While Edler's offensive game is very strong right now, I'd like to see him be a little stronger on the defensive side of the puck. At times he seems to want to make unnecessary plays when a chip off the glass will do. Simplicity is what makes some of the best D-men in the game who they are.
It will be interesting to see what Edler's season finishes like. I expect his offensive game to fall off a little bit but I fully expect that his defensive game will pick up. What makes Edler unique is that he has the potential to be so good on both sides of the puck. I liken him to Sami Salo. Salo has a dynamite offensive game but he also works the defensive side of the puck to a tee. Would I pick anyone on the Canucks roster to shutdown Alex Ovechkin other than Sami Salo? Not a chance.
Thanks for reading and have a great day!
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