Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alex Edler is off to a torrid start this season. After 15 games, he is tied for the lead in scoring from the blue line with 15 points.
For those of you that are mathematically challenged, your intrepid reporter included, that’s a point per game clip.
Will Alex Edler be able to keep up the scoring and become a legitimate Norris candidate?
Barring an injury there is no reason to believe he will not.
Now, Edler will most likely not keep up his point per game pace, but it seems a lock that he will set career highs in points scored. If he can score 50 points or more, he should find himself in the Norris conversation.
Technically the Norris trophy is for the league’s best defenseman. However, if you can score your chances are better.
Last year Nicklas Lidstrom won the trophy while scoring 62 points. Lidstrom is the best defenseman of our generation, but saw a somewhat subpar year, by his standards, defensively last season. He finished with a minus-two rating and still won.
The other nominees? Shea Weber finished with 48 points and a plus-seven rating. Zdeno Chara finished with 44 points and a whopping plus-33 rating.
Edler will have to get himself in that range to be nominated.
As hot as a start as he is off to, he currently finds himself at minus-two.
Plus/minus ratings are often misleading. Is Edler’s minus-two a result of bad play by him, or more indication of the up and down start the Canucks and Roberto Luongo, have seen?
Logic seems to indicate the latter.
Edler is lucky in that he plays for a team loaded with offensive talent. This will help his point production. As will the fact that with the departure of Christian Ehrhoff he finds himself as the point man on the league’s best power plays.
Lidstrom won last year with a minus-two but the general assumption was that his reputation as the perennial Norris winner carried his victory. Many saw Shea Weber as more deserving.
Edler doesn’t have that reputation yet so he will have to really impress to get a nomination.
As for his plus/minus, if history is any indication, Edler’s numbers will only improve. Last season he ended up with a plus- 13 which was a career high. At only 25 years old, his defense is only improving.
As the Canucks begin to right their ship he will once again be one of the top defenseman on one of the league’s best defensive squads.
Add that to his scoring prowess, and it will be hard to keep him off the Norris ballot.