Gillis: Alex Edler out indefinitely

Cam Charron
December 05 2013 04:28PM

Small (big?) bit of news today, but obviously worth discussing. Thomas Drance may work over at The Score now, but he also transcribes useful bits of information for us worthless bloggers:

"Alex is out indefinitely. He suffered a knee injury that occurred in the game in Nashville.

We're not sure what the time frame is going to resemble at this point in time, and we'll see over the next week exactly what it may be. But at this point we can't really predict that."

It's not news that Edler was going to be out, but with what, and for how long, is up for debate. Wax all you want about whether Edler creates too many turnovers, but for a second, this has to be recognized as a huge hole in the Canucks lineup. Edler was leading the team in minutes, played on both the powerplay and penalty kill, and is third among Canuck defenceman according to ExtraSkater's quality of competition metric, which measures the percentage of time on ice played by forward competition.

Now, Edler and Jason Garrison have been a bit of a tire fire together this season, but they've been playing much better lately, and are above 50% Corsi together on the season. My primary instinct is this means a few more minutes at evens for Dan Hamhuis and Chris Tanev, but Garrison has rarely played off of Edler's wing this season. He played 153 minutes with Kevin Bieksa last year and they were in the black, so perhaps we return to the days when John Tortorella overloads his top four.

So it will probably be Andrew Alberts (remember him?) rotating into the lineup. SInce the injury is probably going to span some time, they'll probably look to Utica for Frankie Corrado soonish. Alberts with Ryan Stanton doesn't really appeal to me as a third pairing, and I guess it didn't really appeal to Torts either. He played Alberts 10:22 in his first game of the season, and under two minutes in each of the other two, often with Bieksa.

I guess we can say that the Canucks have been quite lucky with injuries so far this year. Not only did they get Ryan Kesler a clean bill of health after two years of uncertainty, but they have yet to lose a man game to injury on defence this year, just three to suspension to Edler, which was what brought Alberts into the lineup originally.

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Cam Charron is a BC hockey fan that writes about hockey on many different websites including this one.
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#1 DCR
December 05 2013, 04:59PM
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While Alberts is in, I'd slot him alongside Garrison because Garrison's better at playing his off-side than Stanton, and just run 5D heavy.

I'd then shift Garrison back to his natural side and call up Frankie Corrado to play with him.

Any option's going to hurt, but I think that's the least bad for the moment.

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#2 NM00
December 05 2013, 05:42PM
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The silver lining to Edler's injury is an extended opportunity to observe Corrado at the NHL level.

It's inexplicable that management is choosing Alberts over Corrado while wasting cheap ELC games (though there's nothing new about that part).

There's a chance to see what life with Corrado and without Edler looks like. It should not be wasted...

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#3 JFR
December 05 2013, 06:10PM
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I like the idea of Corrado playing in Eds place. The defense will be a bit more defensive, but I don't mind that. I think that defensive play should be this teams signature and hopefully now that the PP has gotten one in six straight games that might come around. Not a good thing to have guys like Burrows and Edler out, but it's hockey. Shea Webber missed last game and the Kings are playing with Scribiens so every team has its injuries it's just how you deal with them that decides your playoff berth. Don't Bring Up Weber!

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#4 PB
December 05 2013, 06:30PM
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Please let's have no more of the Alberts experiment. We already know what Murzyn 2.0 can't do. And I'm not sure what more Corrado can do on a truly terrible AHL squad. Would be good to get some minutes up here, even if it's a Stanton-Corrado third pairing with 12-ish minutes per night.

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#5 Peachy
December 05 2013, 06:35PM
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NM00 wrote:

The silver lining to Edler's injury is an extended opportunity to observe Corrado at the NHL level.

It's inexplicable that management is choosing Alberts over Corrado while wasting cheap ELC games (though there's nothing new about that part).

There's a chance to see what life with Corrado and without Edler looks like. It should not be wasted...

*sigh*

I know I shouldn't bother, but...

Not playing Corrado doesn't "waste" his ELC games. In fact, it's actually superior strategic asset management: the smaller Corrado's body of work when he gets to the end of the ELC - keeping in mind the Canucks can start negotiating that as soon as July 1 - the smaller the contract he gets will be. His next contract is going to be the one where he's (likely) playing big minutes in a big role.

Should he play instead of Alberts? Probably. But he isn't even clearly the 1D on the Comets. The Canucks can't give up games for the sake of "development" giben how tight the standings are. The plan is probably to play Alberts 2 minutes per game, Corrado's likely to get the same.

Keeping him down is a reasonable move, as much as I'd personally like to see him play.

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#6 Just One Cup
December 05 2013, 06:49PM
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Okay seriously, playing Alberts is not a reasonable move when the Canucks playoff lives are at stake. He was absolutely horrible in the pre-season and there's a reason he hasn't played much at all in the regular season.

Bring up Corrado and get him more experience! We all saw how well he played in the playoffs last year for a guy straight up from junior!

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#7 Matt
December 05 2013, 07:07PM
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Alberts was terrible in the preseason, but he's been a perfectly serviceable bottom-pair defenceman in the past. I don't have a problem with the team giving him another shot in limited minutes for a couple of games. If he's awful like he was in the preseason, call up Corrado or Yannick Weber. If he's serviceable, roll with him until Edler's healthy again.

I agree with DCR though, ideally I'd like to see Garrison shift back to his natural side and play alongside Corrado.

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#8 Ryan B
December 05 2013, 07:45PM
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I blame NM00.

He's been running his mouth for a while now that Vancouver has been without a serious injury.

He jinxed us.

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#9 Peachy
December 05 2013, 08:36PM
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Just One Cup wrote:

Okay seriously, playing Alberts is not a reasonable move when the Canucks playoff lives are at stake. He was absolutely horrible in the pre-season and there's a reason he hasn't played much at all in the regular season.

Bring up Corrado and get him more experience! We all saw how well he played in the playoffs last year for a guy straight up from junior!

The thing is that it's not a matter of playing Alberts or Corrado. It's a matter of playing 5 defensemen, and who is going to be a potted plant on the bench for 58 minutes per game?

Alberts is better suited to the potted plant role than Corrado is.

I agree that Corrado's better than Alberts now, and has a better future. But he's probably not an upgrade on riding the top 5 hard.

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#10 NM00
December 05 2013, 09:16PM
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@Peachy

Starting your posts with "sigh" is a curious rhetorical strategy...

"Not playing Corrado doesn't "waste" his ELC games."

Yes, yes it does.

There's a reason Chicago has had Saad & Shaw on the big team on their way to a championship, for example.

Virtually every single team aside from Vancouver takes advantage of ELC years.

"In fact, it's actually superior strategic asset management: the smaller Corrado's body of work when he gets to the end of the ELC - keeping in mind the Canucks can start negotiating that as soon as July 1 - the smaller the contract he gets will be."

On what basis do you think a few games would have more than a negligible affect on the 2nd contract?

"The plan is probably to play Alberts 2 minutes per game, Corrado's likely to get the same."

Stanton hasn't been played 2 minutes a game as the #6 defenseman...

"Keeping him down is a reasonable move, as much as I'd personally like to see him play."

This very same management team burned a year of Corrado's ELC for a few games because he was the 6th best defenseman in the organization.

ELC's and years of team control are finite.

If management started his clock last season, it makes little sense to not call him up in this instance especially because it provides an opportunity to evaluate the defense without Edler.

"I know I shouldn't bother."

Can't disagree with this...

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#11 Peachy
December 05 2013, 10:31PM
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@NM00

Corrado does not appear to be the best defenseman on the Comets. If the Canucks are going to bring someone up in order to win, it's not going to be him. Yet.

Stanton is playing more than 2 minutes because he's capable of playing more without hurting the team. Alberts isn't, so if Alberts draws in as expected, he'll only play a couple minutes.

Corrado playing last year was a function of many things:

1 - there was nowhere else for him to play. 2 - the Canucks only had 5 competent dmen (compared to 6 this year) and had injury problems that reduced them to 4. 3 - Vigneault liked to spread ice time around a lot more than Torts does.

Yes, it sucked than an ELC year was burned.

The fact remains that the less he plays for the Canucks over this season and next, the better his contract will be for his bridge years. Minimizing his play this year, providing it doesn't come at the expense of results, is good asset management.

Shaw is a classic example of the perils of playing average players in big roles on their ELCs: they get big contracts (many argued too big) while still restricted free agents. He's far from the only example. For Chicago, it was worth it, given their circumstances. The circumstances surrounding Corrado are incomparable.

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#12 Peachy
December 05 2013, 10:34PM
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@NM00

Also, you're right that it was stupid of me to start my post with two pointless and unjustly perjorative rhetorical devices.

Sorry.

(That actually wasn't sarcastic.)

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#13 JCDavies
December 05 2013, 11:42PM
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Could the Canucks be delaying the recall of Corrado for cap reasons that might be influenced by the Edler test results?

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#14 Thomas Drance
December 06 2013, 12:36AM
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Gillis also said in the interview that the plan is to ride out the homestand with what's currently on the roster (so, Alberts).

Back with the Rangers Torts often dressed Bickel (a designated fighter + not much of a Dman) and ran 5 D heavy + I'd expect that's what we see here. Corrado probably gets a look eventually if Alberts struggles (which, yeah, he probably will).

Also using cheap ELC games is sort of beside the point, I think. Corrado's probably more useful than AA but he's also probably better served playing 25 mins in Utica than 5-10 in Vancouver. That should be the priority, I'd imagine, and not just using ELC years for the sake of it.

Also for my old friend @NM00: between Tanev, Volpatti, Hodgson, Kassian, Schroeder, Lack, Corrado I count the Canucks as having received 322 games from players on ELCs since the 2010-11 season. I'd imagine that's in the bottom third of the league or so, but it's the equivalent of 4 man seasons so saying "Virtually every single team aside from Vancouver takes advantage of ELC years" seems like a stretch.

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#15 origamirock
December 06 2013, 07:46AM
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I miss the Garrison/Hamhuis combination. They were so insanely good together last year, I really wish they would be given a chance again this year. The only downside of it last year was the horror of Bieksa/Edler. With the arrival of Stanton, Bieksa again has a partner he has convincingly shown to be able to dominate with.

This would leave Tanev, and I don't think there's anyone else (except Hamhuis) that I'd trust to cover for a potentially untrustworthy defense partner (Alberts, Weber, Corrado, hell why not Tommernes?).

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#16 Ruprecht
December 06 2013, 11:54AM
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Thomas Drance wrote:

Gillis also said in the interview that the plan is to ride out the homestand with what's currently on the roster (so, Alberts).

Back with the Rangers Torts often dressed Bickel (a designated fighter + not much of a Dman) and ran 5 D heavy + I'd expect that's what we see here. Corrado probably gets a look eventually if Alberts struggles (which, yeah, he probably will).

Also using cheap ELC games is sort of beside the point, I think. Corrado's probably more useful than AA but he's also probably better served playing 25 mins in Utica than 5-10 in Vancouver. That should be the priority, I'd imagine, and not just using ELC years for the sake of it.

Also for my old friend @NM00: between Tanev, Volpatti, Hodgson, Kassian, Schroeder, Lack, Corrado I count the Canucks as having received 322 games from players on ELCs since the 2010-11 season. I'd imagine that's in the bottom third of the league or so, but it's the equivalent of 4 man seasons so saying "Virtually every single team aside from Vancouver takes advantage of ELC years" seems like a stretch.

It's actually a pretty similar situation to when Staal got injured. Stralman wasn't quite ready, but that's also the year MacDonough stepped in seamlessly to eat big minutes for the first time. Bickell was a part of a revolving door of bottom 6 guys that, besides Bickell, also included Erixon, Emminger, with Stralman in and out at the swingman. Bickell also got games in the top 5 that year depending on how pissed Torts was at Stralman. If I recall correctly the only call-up that year to cover Staal's minutes was Bickell. Everybody else was already with the big club.

I don't mind the idea of letting the guys on the roster step up. Simply because it was this sort of opportunity that allowed for the emergence of a guy on the fringe in MacDonough. I say it's time to see what we have in Tanev and Stanton, let them eat some minutes and see where it goes. They've earned the opportunity more than Corrado at the moment. If it doesn't work, then make the call for help...and pray for the LTIR.

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#17 NM00
December 06 2013, 12:00PM
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@Thomas Drance

" between Tanev, Volpatti, Hodgson, Kassian, Schroeder, Lack, Corrado I count the Canucks as having received 322 games from players on ELCs since the 2010-11 season. I'd imagine that's in the bottom third of the league or so, but it's the equivalent of 4 man seasons so saying "Virtually every single team aside from Vancouver takes advantage of ELC years" seems like a stretch."

You're stretching if you think 322 replacement/role player games in the last 3+ years isn't a damning indictment of this management team.

Espescially since you aren't comparing it to what 29 other teams have been doing since 2010-2011...

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#18 NM00
December 06 2013, 12:22PM
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@Peachy

But why would, for example, 5-15 NHL games as a 3rd pairing defenseman have more than a negligible affect on Corrado's 2nd contract?

Also, I'd argue there's value in seeing what the defense looks like with Corrado and without Edler since trading a core defenseman for a forward might be the only shot at getting out of mediocrity...

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#19 Thomas Drance
December 06 2013, 01:14PM
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@NM00 my point is that you can (rightly) criticize Vancouver's drafting etc. without agonizing over a relatively meaningless standard concerning their unwillingness/inability to use ELC years.

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#20 NM00
December 06 2013, 01:48PM
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@Thomas Drance

Where am I agonizing?

The economics of the NHL (as well as MLB and presumably other leagues) is partially premised on getting surplus value from players during team controlled years.

The greatest potential for surplus value comes off of ELCs (something about which Gillis has spoken).

Among other things, teams that do not take advantage of ELCs are not taking advantage of the bonus cushion.

The Canucks may very well be the only team in the NHL not currently using the bonus cushion at all:

http://www.capgeek.com/canucks

Also, tossing out the number of games the Canucks have received from ELCs since 2010-2011 without comparing it to 29 other teams isn't supporting your point...

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#21 Thomas Drance
December 06 2013, 02:36PM
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Between a job, a girlfriend and busy freelance sked I don't have the time to go through and figure out total ELC games used leaguewide last 3-4 seasons (might do it sometime this week bc I'm curious now, but don't have time righ tnow).

You said "Virtually every single team aside from Vancouver takes advantage of ELC years" and I pointed out that they'd used 322 ELC games since 10-11. If you want to support your over the top argument that VAN uniquely doesn't take advantage of ELCs, then I think the burden of proof falls on you.

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#22 NM00
December 06 2013, 02:58PM
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@Thomas Drance

If the Canucks had used 1 ELC game in the last 3-4 years, would the burden of proof be on me to defend my quip?

Pointing to 322 games isn't evidence that the club isn't doing poorly in this area.

If you do end up looking at the other 29 teams, the Canucks absolutely will be in the bottom third.

I've looked at the number of man games received from 2008-2012 draft picks (Canucks were 27th prior to the season) and listed the 2005-present and 2008-present homegrown draft picks on opening day rosters (Canucks were dead last by both counts with Schroeder as the lone rep and that hasn't changed).

It's not quite ELC man games, but it's in the general vicinity...

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#23 JCDavies
December 06 2013, 04:22PM
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NM00 wrote:

If the Canucks had used 1 ELC game in the last 3-4 years, would the burden of proof be on me to defend my quip?

Pointing to 322 games isn't evidence that the club isn't doing poorly in this area.

If you do end up looking at the other 29 teams, the Canucks absolutely will be in the bottom third.

I've looked at the number of man games received from 2008-2012 draft picks (Canucks were 27th prior to the season) and listed the 2005-present and 2008-present homegrown draft picks on opening day rosters (Canucks were dead last by both counts with Schroeder as the lone rep and that hasn't changed).

It's not quite ELC man games, but it's in the general vicinity...

I believe I can rest my case from the Dec. 2nd thread here.

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#24 NM00
December 06 2013, 04:49PM
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@JCDavies

Because you are again talking in vague terms without getting concrete...

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#25 JCDavies
December 06 2013, 06:55PM
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@NM00

It's not really all that complicated.

You were critical of the statistic that another author chose to use in his analysis and forecasts for the Canuck's season and suggested that he shouldn't be ignoring data that might lead to different conclusions.

I suggested that you have been "cherry picking" and using questionable data/statistics - like the statistics mentioned above in comment #22 - for months.

An obvious attempt to suggest that it's ridiculous to criticize others for doing what you do often.

See? Not complicated.

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#26 NM00
December 06 2013, 08:35PM
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@JCDavies

"See? Not complicated."

You're still not saying anything concrete here.

You're simply pointing to something, presumably the games played by draft picks number, and concluding with "see!"

That does not follow.

My criticism pertained to privileging one statistic in which the Canucks are doing fairly well over another in which the Canucks are merely average in an article presumably designed to deconstruct a narrative.

If you want to show where I am "cherry picking", show me an example where I used a statistic while deliberately ignoring something equally good or better...

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#27 JCDavies
December 07 2013, 06:13PM
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@NM00

"If you want to show where I am "cherry picking", show me an example"

My responses/criticisms to your original posts on the value the Canuck's have received from their 2005-2007 and 2008-2012 draft picks, your use and comparison of mismatched sample sizes, the questionable weighting system you devised and your arbitrary choices on which picks/players should be credited to each team are still there. If you are looking for an example, you should go revisit those posts you wrote this past summer.

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