Alexander Edler’s green jacket – Weekend Watchability Index

Alexander Edler finished 886th out of 886 NHL skaters this season in the all-important “+/-” statistic. It speaks to how useless that statistic is that nobody seems up in arms demanding Edler’s exit from Vancouver. I think generally the Vancouver media is pretty good at holding players accountable only for what they can be accountable for, and it was obvious all year that Edler’s lousy +/- had little to do with his own transgressions.

After all, in 2011-2012, Alex Edler was tied for 13th in Norris Trophy voting with Duncan Keith (?). He won a silver medal for Sweden at the Olympic Games, played in the World Championships a year ago and has been a regular NHL player for seven seasons. Those kinds of players don’t just become lousy overnight, or the worst in the league at something.

I don’t think I need to explain to readers of the blog why Edler’s +/- was so low. Via ExtraSkater, Edler had the lowest PDO in the league among defencemen, ahead of only Steve Bernier among skaters. The Canucks shot just 3.6% when he was on the ice, and Canuck goaltenders saved just .916 shots at even strength. The Canucks overall shot 7.3% and had a team save percentage of .922. If there was a player who personified the measly luck of the Canucks in 2013-14, it was Edler.

Context always matters, of course. Edler had a relative Corsi of -0.4%, despite the second easiest zone starts on the team, which denotes a pretty poor season by a player who has generally been a much better possession player throughout his career. Still, he mostly struggled with compliance buyout candidate Jason Garrison—and had a 53.9% Corsi rate away from him. I feel like an extended sequence with Garrison is to blame for Edler’s pedestrian possession stats, and the low PDO is to blame for the +/-, as is tradition.

I thought it would be fun to check the points and +/- numbers for other players with sub-960 PDOs and see how they’d perform the next season. Unfortunately, the sample was pretty small. I’d assume that not a lot of players racking up the minuses get to stay in the league without some small amount of pedigree, and the poor seasons wound up costing poor 28-year-old Milan Jurcina and 27-year-old Vitaly Vishnevsky their NHL careers.

Here’s the complete list, however:

Player Season GP Pts +/- nGP nPts n+/- Pts/82 +/- per 82 nPts/82 n+/- per 82
Paul Ranger 2008 72 31 -13 42 13 -5 35 -15 25 -10
Niclas Wallin 2008 66 8 -18 64 10 -1 10 -22 13 -1
Brendan Witt 2009 65 9 -34 42 5 -18 11 -43 10 -35
Filip Kuba 2011 64 16 -26 73 32 26 21 -33 36 29
Andy Greene 2011 82 23 -23 56 16 3 23 -23 23 4
Mike Weber 2012 51 5 -19 42 7 3 8 -31 14 6
Brian Campbell 2013 48 27 -22 82 37 -6 46 -38 37 -6
Alex Edler 2014 63 22 -39 ? ? ? 29 -51 ? ?
Total ALL 448 119 -155 401 120 2 22 -28 25 0

(n in this case denotes the next season. Stats via HockeyReference. I’ve bolded Filip Kuba, who is basically Ground Zero for PDO research. After a 949 PDO in 2011, Kuba was paired with Erik Karlsson the next season, recorded 32 points with a 1027 PDO and subsequently signed a two-year deal with Florida worth $8-million. Regrettably, Kuba’s PDO fell to 967 in 2012-2013 and he was bought out of the final year of his deal and has not been heard of since.)

Seven players whose combined +/- in Year 1 was a combined -155 wound up being a combined +2 a year later. See what analysts suggest +/- is a poor way to judge players? The players’ points-per-82 rate went up slightly, though not considerably enough to form any sort of conclusion based on the sample.

Here are those player’s PDO stats for Year 1 and Year 2, also:

Player PDO Year 1 PDO Year 2
Paul Ranger 954 985
Niclas Wallin 958 983
Brendan Witt 957 952
Filip Kuba 949 1027
Andy Greene 960 1005
Mike Weber 955 1028
Brian Campbell 956 987
Alex Edler 938 ???
AVERAGE 956 995


With a larger sample I’d assume we’d see that Year 2 number closer to 1000.

Point being, Edler’s low PDO and +/- this year is probably not going to have a bearing on what happens a year from now.


The Canucks are not in the playoffs, but that does not mean there aren’t some games on the calendar worth circling. If you can’t watch all of them, at least watch these three:

Game 5 – Columbus vs. Pittsburgh – Saturday @ 4:00 p.m.

The hook: There is no other game being played on the primetime Saturday night time slot, which means the entire hockey world gets to watch the potential utter capitulation of Marc-Andre Fleury. Everybody’s on the Blue Jackets’ bandwagon now. It’s a bit like the Islanders series last year, where the Penguins are forced into a first round matchup against a deceptively-good puck possession team. The only difference is that Columbus has a competent goaltender, even if that hasn’t helped them hold a lead in this series.

Was reading a stat that said there have already been nine multi-goal comebacks in the playoffs thus far. Four have occurred in this series in four games played. It’s been outstanding and outcomes have never been in doubt. Fantastic hockey, too—that Sidney Crosby and Brandon Dubinsky matchup has been very compelling.

Game 5 – Los Angeles vs. San Jose – Saturday @ 7:00 p.m.

The hook: The hockey has been fantastic, but so far only one of the four games has the outcome been in doubt in the late stages. Regrettably, Darryl Sutter and the Kings had more sense than to turn to rookie Martin Jones when Jonathan Quick was struggling, and he put together an acceptable-enough performance in Game 4 to stay between the pipes for the rest of the series.

Still, even though the Kings won me some money in 2012, I’ve always liked the Sharks, and would like to see them close this out sooner rather than later. The Kings are a good enough team to win three straight from here on out, and definitely dirty enough to put a couple more Shark players on the medical table prior to the next series.

Games 4 and 5 – NY Rangers vs. Philadelphia – Friday @ 4:00 p.m. & Sunday @ 9:00 a.m.

The hook: A bit of a forgotten series in Canada, since the games have been played opposite more compelling matchups, and generally really high up on the channel indicators. But this is probably the most exciting hockey of the bunch (even if the quality of play isn’t the best, it’s still been pretty fluid, wide-open, and lingering disaster looms each shift for either team) and the weekend games for the Flyers and Rangers get the full network treatment both nights.

New York is probably the second best team in the Eastern Conference this year. Even though they’ve had the lead for nearly half of the running time in the first three games (they’ve led for 89 minutes, to Philadelphia’s 32), they’ve still out-shot the Flyers 92-72. Still, the Flyers dominant top line has yet to catch fire, and if they do, this series could stretch to 6 or 7 games. Could be a lot of fun.

Also, a Sunday morning hangover game, worth watching if Canada fails to make the finals at the U-18 World Championship.

  • Whoever comes on as GM would be remiss to trade Edler now – not because trading Edler is a bad idea, but because selling low is a franchise-crippling proposition.

    I’d way rather see Bieska traded. He has decent value and if there is anyone who is part of the stale old guard, it’s him.

    Not to pick on him. I like Bieska as a player and he seems like a fairly engaging guy. But you watch him play and his body language reminds me of an employee who needs to hand in his two-week notice.

    Lot of head shaking, skating off with his head down, perpetually grumpy – I know that’s his shtick but seems like more than that.

    Think the Leafs would like him in that line up?

  • Nah, trade Tanev. Or hope someone offer sheets him, but who’s going to give up a 2015 1st rounder?

    I thought Edler was more or less a passenger with the Sedins in terms of possession? Garrison was awful though – everyone who played more than 200 EV mins with him was better without him.

  • If Edler rebounds, or heaven forbid, he plays to his potential — which is considerable — why would the Canucks want to trade him, making the buy low, sell high theory when it comes to him moot.

    Either, way, Edler likely plays out the remainder of his contract in Vancouver.

  • If you read the odd report from other teams about Edler, they still think he’s solid. A bad season on a bad team does not define the player. Edler’s biggest critics seem to be the hockey dorks that plague the blogs. Sure, his value is low right now but he isn’t worthless. 🙂

    • andyg

      I’m pretty sure that it’s because we have one compliance buyout left and it would be silly to waste it on Booth when he seems to be rounding into shape in the last year of his contract.

      Garrison’s cap hit is $4.6 million per year for the next 4 years. He is paid the following:

      2014/15: $3.5 million
      2015/16: $3.0 million
      2016/17: $3.6 million
      2017/18: $2.5 million

      It seems silly to me to waste a buyout on a contract where the cap hit is over $1 million more than the salary owed, each and every one of the remaining 4 years. There are teams in the NHL that struggle to make the floor; and a contract like Garrison’s could be attractive to them.

      And of course we have to use the buyout on one of our own players, and not as a trade bargaining chip with say Philly. Or Toronto. Because Toronto’s Gleason is just like Garrison, except without the offence. Or defence. Plus he’s older, and his contract is shorter and cheaper to buy out. Surely $4 million in cap space would be welcomed by Nonis this offseason.

      Buying Garrison’s contract out is a waste of two, not one, assets.

      • Dimitri Filipovic

        Ted, if we’re not a credible source and just “clueless 20 year old kids”, please feel free to go elsewhere for your Canucks-related reading. I would hate to see you spend your summer being miserable.

        • Dimitri Filipovic

          Some people just like hopping from site to site Trashing everything in site. It gives them a sense of superiority while they eat canned chili in their Moms basement. Keep up the great analysis Tedrick!

        • andyg

          Um…what?! I don’t remember pointing out any of the writers. From what I read, the article bloggers seem to be on the same page as me. The people that dismiss Edler as worthless and a horrid defenceman are the ones I feel are ignorant/idiots – some of the peeps leaving comments. Maybe I should’ve been more specific? It might also help if people didn’t jump to conclusions.

          Again, when I offer my opinions, they’re probably as valid, or wrong, as most of the people here. I see some people saying Edler wouldn’t be tradeable and he’s the worst thing etc etc. My position is he had a bad year on a bad team. He should be better next year. It bothers me when people come on here, speak like they know everything and don’t provide one shred of evidence or examples.

          So, Dmitri, I hope that clarifies my position. It was directed towards you. If you think it was, well, that’s too bad.

          • andyg

            “My position is he had a bad year on a bad team. He should be better next year”

            You’re saying Edler was BAD on a BAD team so that means he wasn’t BAD, just the team was BAD.
            So by that what you really meant to say was Edler was good but the whole team was bad. It’s not that he made the team bad, the team made him look bad. So n essence, what you are really trying to say is that Edler is good but the team is bad. If that is the case, how come Edler was so bad?

            Do two BAD things add up to one GOOD thing? Apparently it does to you. Because if Elder was only BAD because the team was BAD, than what you are saying is that Edler is the only good thing on a bad team. -1 plus -1 must mean 1 to you.
            “He should be better next year”
            And you base that on what, his bad performance? So bad equals better next year.

            From BAD plus BAD you somehow get GOOD next year. Gee, that makes perfect sense now.
            And you wonder why people call you
            “No Standards Ted” here.

          • My head is now spinning. You just spent two paragraphs using logical inequivalencies to twist what he said.

            Did you read the article? Edler was massively unlucky, BAD if you’d like, on a BAD team.
            He should be better next year, because his bad luck doesn’t make it any more or less likely that he will be BAD next year. He could be GOOD.

          • “Did you read the article? Edler was massively unlucky, BAD if you’d like, on a BAD team. He should be better next year, because his bad luck doesn’t make it any more or less likely that he will be BAD next year. He could be GOOD.”

            Pardon me, but I didn’t you know had a luck meter. And here I thought the Edler apologists were defending his bad play with facts and stats. Does this luck meter work on all players and where did you find such a device?

            If Edler was only bad because he was unlucky then why are you keeping such a device to yourselves. Why not share it with the rest of us and the management, that way they can find out who was lucky or unlucky and then make appropriate personnel changes?

            So according to your luck meter the guy who was the worst -39 in the league was just unlucky. Does that luck meter also say that the best Canuck this year was just lucky?

            Unlucky? Do you even hear what you’re saying? You are right, your head is spinning… otherwise there is no way you can defend a player who was -39. Take an asprin before you think that great teams are built on luck.

      • Dimitri Filipovic

        Obviously, Ted, I don’t believe that Garrison should be a candidate for a compliance buyout.

        That said, when Cam or Dimitri or someone else says that he should be bought out, that doesn’t make them idiots (likewise, it hopefully doesn’t make me an idiot, either, if they are right). It means that we disagree on what to do with two assets the Canucks have-Jason Garrison and one remaining compliance buyout.

  • acg5151

    I’ll be the first to say that Edler – when playing well – is really good.

    However, he doesn’t fit with this blueline. He can’t play with Bieksa. He can’t play with Garrison. I guess try him with Tanev or Hamhuis but this just isn’t working.

    I still think his value is solid enough that a team like Philadelphia would be willing to trade for him.

    That being said it might be wise to hold onto him. If he ever gets it together he will be a 50 point offensive defenseman which can be tough to draft. He played well in the Olympics so there’s hope,

  • acg5151

    Also – why are we beholden to use our compliance buyout? Garrison is a good d-man coming off injury. Booth is a solid, tough winger. I just don’t see anyone I want to buy outl

    • Dimitri Filipovic

      the only thing Mcphee will do is ensure the Canucks will not win cup in 60 years. Mcphee is like a wart that clings on and never seems to go away. Ask Washington and oh yeah, ask the Canucks. LOL

  • pheenster

    One thing that has to be done is the Canucks need a head coach that can coach up the Defense. Top to bottom I believe that the Canucks have the deepest “Individual” talent around. The problem is that the don’t play like a unit. Hammy and Tanev have shut down ability and Bieska and Edler should be able to play a two way game and Garrison should be a PP weapon…… But none of that happened.

    John Stevens should have been the coach last year. The guy has had a solid reputation coaching the defense in LA.

    If there is a trade it will be Tanev because we won’t get fair value back if a No trade clause is waved. This team and the D in particular need a real leader and Torts is not that guy. I haven’t see on so many defensive break downs in my life. Every player should send Lack I’m sorry cards!

    • andyg

      If a player gets to a point where he is yelled at by the coach in front of the team it says that he wasn’t taking his responsibilities seriously. This was not the first time Edler failed and if he or the teammates weren’t going to call him out, then the coach needs to step in because the dumb things he does on the ice costs games.

      Also, if Edler can’t take harsh criticism or his responsibilities seriously, he needs to find a therapist or look for another line of work. Edler and his fans need to remember that he is supposed to be an NHL hockey player, not a teenage girl going through puberty.

      • andyg

        People who resort to yelling at fellow workers are idiots.

        There is no place for it in any work environment and it certainly does nothing to enhance communication between 2 people.

        A coaches job is to teach and communicate something that Torts has failed at.

        • Have you been to a hockey game mate? There’s yelling from the crowd, many are screaming, the refs yell at players and blow loud whistles, the music is loud, the players are yelling at their own team mates, the players are yelling at opposing team member, the coaches are yelling and barking at everything.

          Torts was communicating to Edler by yelling because Elder is DENSE. If you want no yelling try going to a library but expecting to have no yelling at a hockey game is no different than the downtown dip-sticks who expect everyone not to talk loud on public beaches simply because they live in the area.

          Unprofessional because of yelling? There’s even yelling in elementary school hockey, man. LOL Again, let me ask you, have you ever been to a hockey game in your life? Sure doesn’t “sound” like it. Pun intended.

          • andyg

            I am not talking about raising his voice because a place is loud, but nice try. I am however talking about how he got up in his face and you could tell Torts had come unglued.

            If you think that is a coaching tactic that is going to work,than I hope you get to watch Torts for many more years.

            I personally think a coach needs to be confidant, calm and have the ability to teach.

            AV got way more out of Edler.

          • andyg

            “AV got way more out of Edler.”

            And was it enough? Given better circumstances and a longer period. Av was there since 2006. That’s a long time. When your student at his best can’t get it done, it’s safe to assume that around 7 years later he doesn’t have what it takes. Face the facts and stop side tracking the subject.

            Av had many more years here and had a better team then this pile of dung Gillis dumped on Torts. And NOT everyone was doing well under AV, did you forget those players too?

            I’m sure Torts is confident, in fact, whatever he has, it was enough to win a cup. Did you win a cup? Did AV win a cup? So now you are saying you know more than Torts? If you are going to be an armchair coach, try to at least pick a player that isn’t a -39 to defend. A negative 39. Did you hear that? NEGATIVE 39.

            Nice try, but like Edler, no cigar amigo. Not even close.

          • pheenster

            You could have picked a better player to defend, maybe a -10 or -22, but no, you had to pick a player who was NEGATIVE 39. Did you catch that? NEGATIVE 39.

            This team was lousy before Torts came. This team was lousy after the finals. This team was mediocre before the finals. You want to talk about luck, the going to the finals with this team was luck.

            I wasn’t the one who defended a NEGATIVE 39 player, you were. If i had my way, I’d demolish the whole team and start altogether fresh, You, on the other hand, want this disgusting travesty for a team to keep going on, trying to scapegoat Torts along the way and defending a NEGATIVE 39 player to boot. This team 2 years before Torts came won 1 lousy playoff game. ONE. Did you also catch that? then Gillis and the lousy team threw Av under the bus and now its Torts.

            Practically all of the players have no one left to scapegoat, least of all, NEGATIVE 39 Edler. Why do you insist on defending a NEGATIVE 39 player man? Why? Quit trying to divert attention away from the real problem, which is the turd holding the sticks, namely, NEGATIVE 39 Edler.

            Did you hear that. Let me say it again because you seem to have hard time with basic facts. You are defending a NEGATIVE 39 player…WORST in the league. NEGATIVE 39.

            PS. NEGATIVE 39.

          • andyg

            So how many players had good years under Torts?

            Did Edler have a bad year? Yes

            But every player on the team regressed and the only change was coaching. (or the lack of it)

            If 80% of the team did well under Torts and we seen a few struggle that would be different but the hole team?

            Not once did I defend the bad year that Edler has had but rather made the point that coaching could be a large part of what has happened this year. Running down all the players on the team makes no sense!

            Trading Edler after this year is probably not an option.So maybe they buy him out. If that was too happen and he went and signed with a team like Tampa where he was coached by Rick Bowness, he might do well.

            Then we would have to listen to people like you go on and on about what a big mistake it was.

          • andyg

            “Not once did I defend the bad year that Edler has had but rather made the point that coaching could be a large part of what has happened this year”

            The team plays lousy and now it’s the coaches fault. Using your logic, Let me ask you this, did the team have a bad year because of the coach or did the coach have a bad year because of the team?

            Face it, the team is lousy, get rid of the problem, then you’ll have no problem. You can’t keep changing cooks to work with the lousy recipes. Time to bin the crap, something that should have been done YEARS ago.

            “Running down all the players on the team makes no sense!”

            No, but it makes more sense to keep the same lousy team, right? Don’t kill the infection, just change the band aid again. Always the excuses, that’s the most repulsive thing when it comes to the Canucks mentality.

          • andyg


            I like your reasoning! Lets just get rid of the whole team. Maybe we could fill it full of 18 year old’s and become the Oilers.

            What is typical of Canuck fans is the knee jerk reaction,lets just blow it up and we want it all done right now!

          • andyg


            No, let’s not blow it up. Let’s keep this lousy core so I have something to make fun of you with next year. I love your reasoning even more.

            When the team sucks, keep it the same because the same sucks will bring you to the cup. Hey, you do know that the NHL is a competitive league, right? If you just want entertainment there’s always the WWE.