Eberle/Oshie – Wikimedia commons
On Thursday, we looked at two potential trade targets should the Canucks choose to shop skilled defenseman Alex Edler. Let’s look at a few more today.
Before we begin, though, I wanted to get to a few more things about trading (or not trading) Edler.
As I mentioned on Thursday, his name is only surfacing in speculation because he seems to be the only core player with great trade value (and the only one that could be realistically traded). You don’t move players like Edler for the sake of it – he’s a proven top pairing defenseman with a lot of great qualities.
There were some great comments after my Thursday column was published.
In my opinion Edler’s regression had a lot to do with AV. When you have a defenseman who has the potential of Edler you do not ask him to change his game to play to a system, a coach should build his system around that player. AV was so stubborn that over the last two seasons he refused to change to suit Edler’s needs and he forced Edler to play on his off-side in a system that did not suit his game. Over the last 5 seasons and 329 games Edler has accumulated 43 goals and 189 points, if he has a coach that is willing to help him clean up the defensive aspects of his game or put him in a system where his defensive errors can be avoided he could easily be one of the top 20 defencemen in the league.
Interesting points, Rob, and I don’t really disagree with any of them. Jason Botchford tweeted this on Tuesday as well:
— Jason Botchford (@botchford) May 23, 2013
Botchford has good connections to the team and has a generally good read on what they are thinking of doing. I just don’t see how they can significantly improve the offense without moving Edler. What other assets have value? Cap space is very limited, even with Laurence Gilman working his magic behind the scenes.
Any thoughts on a match with the Oilers? Management has said a bold move is needed and they have a plethora of young scorers and are in need of a top 4 D and a goalie. I know the whole rivalry thing is in play but they make sense as trade partners to me.
As a Flyers fan, I will not be happy if they trade away Couturier.
I think most Flyer fans would echo this sentiment – but does Paul Holmgren?
Here are two more players that could be targeted should Edler become available.
TJ Oshie (or Patrik Berglund or Chris Stewart) – St. Louis Blues
Oshie isn’t a pure sniper or offensive scorer, but he is a very, very good two-way hockey player. The Blues boast incredible depth up front, and they need to clear some more room for Jaden Schwartz, Vladimir Tarasenko, and Ty Rattie in the next year or two. Oshie is one of their better forwards and they would probably trade Patrik Berglund, Chris Stewart, or David Perron ahead of him, but Edler is worth more than any of those three players I think.
On the back end, the Blues need to find another top-four defenseman to replace Jordan Leopold (assuming he doesn’t re-sign). How mobile would a core of Jay Bouwmeester, Edler, Alex Pietrangelo, and Kevin Shattenkirk be? And all four of them are over 6-2 and 200 pounds.
I’m not sure St. Louis would be willing to take on Edler’s contract – he’s not overpaid, but they have a lot of money tied up to Bouwmeester for next season and several of their key RFAs need new deals. This is more of a long shot trade target.
Is he available?
Probably not, as he is a key component of the Blues attack and the Blues are somewhat thin on the backend. Oshie’s career high is only 19 goals and 54 points, but he does so much more than just score and pass. He’s physical, tenacious, and solid defensively, too. He’s also a local kid (from just over the border in Washington) if you are into that sort of thing.
The Blues could move Oshie and still find a way to construct three or four balanced lines up front, though. Steen, Berglund, Backes, Tarasenko, Schwartz, Stewart, Sobotka, Rattie, Perron – lots of depth, size, and skill.
Vancouver would probably need more value to sweeten the pot if they were to move Edler for Oshie. The Blues traded their 1st for Bouwmeester, but they do have some interesting young assets in the organization. Oshie is a somewhat similar player to David Booth, which may create a bit of redundancy in Vancouver’s top six/nine. The team may be more inclined to target Berglund (a big and strong two-way center with consistency issues) or Stewart (a strong power forward with a sniper’s touch).
The Edmonton Oilers
No, not the entire team.
The Oilers need defensive help, badly, and Edler would immediately become their top defenseman. He’s locked up for a while, and he’s still relatively young. If Edmonton and Vancouver weren’t Pacific Division (heyo!) rivals, this trade would probably make the most sense from a “needs” perspective. It would also allow Justin Schultz to share the offensive burden with another defenseman.
Edmonton GM Craig MacTavish worked for a year in the Canucks organization, so he likely has an idea of how they value players (and he probably has a good read on most of the organization’s assets, too).
Who would be available?
Off limits – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall. I think the Oilers would move Nail Yakupov for the right price (see: more than Edler). Jordan Eberle could be moved, but he makes a million more than Edler, so no cap savings there.
Vancouver would probably love to create some type of cap savings in this potential trade. Sam Gagner? He’s a gritty two-way center with a lot of attributes the Canucks could use in their top nine. Magnus Paajarvi? Perhaps as part of a larger package trade?
Would the Canucks move Edler for Eberle? Would Edmonton? Would the trade make Vancouver significantly better? I think it would improve Edmonton’s team considerably – no slight to Eberle, but a two-way puck mover like Edler would be exactly what the doctor ordered (or has been trying to order for years) for the Oilers. Would the Canucks move Edler for Gagner and Paajarvi? Generally, the team receiving the best player in a trade wins the deal, so this probably isn’t one that would interest Mike Gillis a whole lot.
Still, some food for thought. Unless the Canucks can hit a home run trade, they can’t afford to deal Edler. But how will they otherwise add offense to a somewhat impotent group?
Also – I recently published my second annual Top 50 NHL Trade Value Rankings. No Oshie or Eberle (or Edler) on there, but one Blue and a few Oilers made the grade. Check it out here (warning, it is a long read).
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