General Manager Mike Gillis announced late Friday that the Vancouver Canucks have re-signed defensemen Alex Edler to a six year, $30 million contract extension. Edler’s new contract will make him the Canucks’ highest paid blueliner next season, with a salary cap hit of $5 million (x).
The Östersund, Sweden native was selected 91st overall by Vancouver in the 2004 NHL entry draft and steadily began to make a name for himself with the Canucks after his professional debut. Over the last few seasons Edler (after adding a more physical component to his game and perfecting his slapshot) has evolved to become a stronghold on the Canucks blue line, recording a career high 49 points (11 goals and 38 assists) last season.
The 26 year old Swede, entering the final year of his current contract, was set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Given the fact, the Canucks are happy to have now locked him up through to the 2018-2019 season in a deal that includes a no trade clause (x).
GM Mike Gillis is pleased to have agreed to terms with Edler, saying that the extension “is good for him and good for us” (x). Gillis has high hopes for the 6’3, 215lbs defenseman, noting that “[he’s] got size, skating, and a great shot…[and he's] going to continue to get better, [and] grow into the role of a top-two defenceman” (x).
Assistant General Manager, Laurence Gilman stresses the importance of keeping Edler as a part of the Canucks defensive core, telling reporters, “[it's] a tremendous thing for our club to have a player like Alex signed…[because it] means our defense is going to be stable for years to come” (x). Gilman notes that Edler is already considered one of the best defensemen in the league (after finishing last season as the seventh highest scoring blueliner) “and he is only getting better,” having not yet reached the prime of his career (x).
Gilman praises the quiet Swede’s versatility, noting “he plays nearly 24 minutes a game…plays on the power play and kills penalties” and that this versatility makes him an invaluable asset to the team (x). Edler has also proven to be an effective post-season offensive contributor, notching 27 points (7 goals and 20 assists) in 55 playoff games played.
Edler’s signing now keeps the Canucks’ top four defensemen (Dan Hamhuis, Kevin Bieksa, and Jason Garrison) together through the 2016-2017 season.