The Pros and Cons of Alex Edler's New Contract with the Vancouver Canucks

Steve SilvermanFeatured ColumnistJanuary 19, 2013

ANAHEIM, CA - DECEMBER 29:  Andrew Gordon #41 of the Anaheim Ducks is surrounded by Alex Burrows #14, Sami Salo #6, and Alexander Edler #23 of the Vancouver Canucks during the second period at Honda Center on December 29, 2011 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Timing is everything in life and the Vancouver Canucks should feel pretty good about their signing of defenseman Alex Edler.

Edler, 26, signed a six-year contract extension on Jan. 18 that will make him the highest-paid defenseman on the team (per the Vancouver Sun). Edler wil earn $30 million over the length of the contract.

If Edler and the Canucks could have worked out a deal before the lockout, Edler's sizable contract would have have almost certainly been for more cash and perhaps a longer term.

It would not have been in the Ryan Suter category—he will earn $12 million prorated (per this season—but it would have been for more cash.

Under the new parameters of the collective bargaining agreement, Edler has done very well for himself.

Edler is not in the top rank of defensemen in the NHL. He is not in a category that includes Shea Weber, Erik Karlsson and Zdeno Chara.

However, Edler is very good and moving into the prime of his career. With the retirement of Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom, Edler has a chance to become the No. 1 Swedish defenseman in the NHL, but he will have to advance quite a bit to get past Karlsson.

Edler, Dan Hamhuis and Kevin Bieksa form the core of the Canucks defense. They should get a lift this season from Jason Garrison (16 goals, 17 assists, plus-six for the Florida Panthers last year), but he is still going to have prove himself for his new team.

Edler is coming off an excellent season in which he scored 11 goals, had an eye-catching 38 assists and was plus-16. He made his first All-Star Game last season and he should be a solid contender to play in that game and pick up postseason honors in the future.

Edler is now the highest-paid defenseman on the Canucks (per Capgeek). He ranks ahead of Kevin Bieksa ($4.6 million), Garrison ($4.6 million) and Dan Hamhuis ($4.5 million).

Edler has some physical concerns. His back was so bad in September that the Canucks kept him on the payroll and did not lock him out so their medical staff could treat the condition.

He was feeling stronger by Christmas, but the Canucks have to be concerned about the workload of playing three or more games per week from this point forward.

While his back issues have not flared up yet, the Canucks know that could be an issue at any time.

Edler is not a physically dominant player, but he has all the skills to rank with the league's better defensemen.

The Canucks are banking that Edler will soon rank with the best defensemen in the NHL