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Trade Market: Aging Franchise Icon Edition

In past editions of the Trade Market, we’ve taken a look at potential destinations for Sam Gagner and Chris Tanev and assessed the possibility of picking up an additional first round pick. This time around, we’re doing the inevitable and putting Alex Edler’s market value under the microscope for Trade Market: Aging Franchise Icon Edition.

To qualify for this Trade Market, a team must be in some sort of Stanley Cup contention this season, as Edler is approaching unrestricted free agency and is thus a “rental” player for this year and this year only. A team must also have a clear need for an additional top-four defender on the left side. As any Edler deal would undoubtedly come at the Trade Deadline, cap space is not a major concern.

Of course, it bears mentioning that Edler has a No-Trade Clause in his contract, and won’t be moving at all unless he allows it. For the purposes of this exercise, let’s assume he’s willing.

In this edition of the Trade Market, we’re responding to reader feedback by including some content about the possible return one might expect from an Edler trade. Past trades for players of Edler’s ilk—minute-munching two-way top-four defensemen—at the Trade Deadline would suggest that his value is somewhere around a first round pick and/or a non-bluechip prospect or two. With that in mind, we’ve included some notes on intriguing prospects for each prospective buyer, as well as whether or not they still hold a first.


New York Islanders 

NHL Depth Chart:

Left Defense Right Defense
Nick Leddy Johnny Boychuk
Thomas Hickey Ryan Pulock
Adam Pelech Scott Mayfield
Luca Sbisa  

Stanley Cup Contender?: On the heels of John Tavares’ shocking departure, the Islanders sit a surprising third in the Metropolitan Division. In a weakened Eastern Conference, the Islanders have a real chance to make the playoffs—and a solid run might be just what they need to get over Tavares. But they’ll need some help if they’re going to do it.

First Round Pick?: Still owned by the Islanders.

Intriguing Prospects: Sebastian Aho (D, 22), Devon Toews (D, 24), Bode Wilde (D, 18), Mitch Vande Sompel (D, 21)

Why Them?: The Islanders have a clear need for an upgrade on their left side, where Edler would challenge Nick Leddy for the top-pairing position. The Islanders may be a longshot for a lengthy playoff run, but the Metropolitan is wide open and they’re currently performing well. GM Lou Lamoriello is on his last legs as an NHL GM, so he may want to win sooner rather than later. They have a bounty of defensive prospects to offer in return.


Ottawa Senators 

NHL Depth Chart:

Left Defense Right Defense
Thomas Chabot Dylan DeMelo (inj.)
Maxime Lajoie Cody Ceci
Mark Borowiecki Ben Harpur
Justin Falk Christian Jaros

Stanley Cup Contender?: As has been talked about ad nauseum this season, the Senators foolishly traded their 2019 first round pick to the Colorado Avalanche in the Matt Duchene deal. That means that the lowly Sens have no reason to tank, and need to make as much of a run at the playoffs as possible. They’re currently holding down a wildcard spot in the East. 

First Round Pick?: Laughably, no. See above.

Intriguing Prospects: Christian Wolanin (D, 23), Christian Jaros (D, 22), Markus Nurmi (RW, 20)

Why Them?: The Sens are in a tricky spot this season, and they have no reason not to make their best possible run at the playoffs. Their defense has been decimated by departures, and is in desperate need of some additional talent. Edler would instantly become their best defenseman—but there remains the question of whether or not there’s enough left in Ottawa’s prospect cupboards to pay for him.


Pittsburgh Penguins 

NHL Depth Chart:

Left Defense Right Defense
Brian Dumoulin Kris Letang
Olli Maatta Justin Schultz
Jack Johnson Jamie Oleksiak
Juuso Riikola Chad Ruhwedel

Stanley Cup Contender?: After a shaky start, the Penguins are finally starting to hit their stride. Even if they weren’t, if you’ve got Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on your roster, you’re In contention mode by default.

First Round Pick?: Still owned by the Penguins.

Intriguing Prospects: Filip Hallander (RW, 18), Justin Almeida (C, 19), Sam Miletic (LW, 21)

Why Them?: The Penguins have been linked to Edler in several trade rumors, so they’re plainly interested. Defense always seems to be a trouble spot for Pittsburgh, and the addition of Jack Johnson has been a case of subtraction by addition. Edler would stabilize their left side, and would pair quite nicely with either Kris Letang or Justin Schultz.


San Jose Sharks 

NHL Depth Chart:

Left Defense Right Defense
Marc-Edouard Vlasic Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon Erik Karlsson
Radim Simek Justin Braun
Joakim Ryan Tim Heed

Stanley Cup Contender?: The Sharks look like one of the strongest contenders in the Western Conference this season, and their trade for Erik Karlsson made it apparent that they were all-in for 2019. With Joes Thornton and Pavelski aging and approaching free agency, this might be San Jose’s last best chance at the Cup.

First Round Pick?: Still owned by the Sharks—but not for long. As soon as they make the playoffs, the pick goes to Buffalo as part of the Evander Kane trade. If they somehow miss the playoffs, their pick goes to Ottawa as part of the Erik Karlsson trade.

Intriguing Prospects: Mario Ferraro (D, 20), Maxim Letunov (LW, 22), Sasha Chmelevski (C, 19)

Why Them?: The Sharks already have the best defense corps in the league, but it’s still not perfect. With Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Brent Burns, and Erik Karlsson already on board, the addition of Edler would give San Jose one of the best top-fours imaginable—and that could make up for the potential loss of production from their aging forwards.


Winnipeg Jets 

NHL Depth Chart:

Left Defense Right Defense
Josh Morrissey Jacob Trouba
Ben Chiarot Dustin Byfuglien
Dmitry Kulikov Tyler Myers
Joe Morrow  

Stanley Cup Contender?: The Jets will battle with the Nashville Predators for the Central Division crown all season, but there’s no mistaking that Winnipeg is a genuine Cup contender. With several tough contract divisions pending, the Jets have an added incentive to go for it this season.

First Round Pick?: Still owned by the Jets. 

Intriguing Prospects: Mason Appleton (RW, 22), Logan Stanley (D, 20), Dylan Samberg (D, 19), Brendan Lemieux (LW, 22), Luke Green (D, 20)

Why Them?: The Jets are firmly in contention, but the coming years may be difficult for them in regard to budget decisions. The right side of their defense is among the best in hockey, but their left side leaves a lot to be desired. Edler would solidify their top-four and might even be excited to return to the city where his pro career began.

  • Defenceman Factory

    Great article.

    Would have been nice to include if the D prospects play the left or right side. Would Edler be a significant upgrade to the Winnipeg left side D?

  • Puck Viking

    You left out the Avs. They have a great right side plus have Makar and Timmins coming. They also have 2 first round picks this season, obviously the senators pick isnt going anywhere. But they have a massive hole on the left after Girard and Cole is mehh. Plus they have a legit chance to win this season.

    • Goon

      Leafs are also a massive omission, with their scary forward group, prospect depth, lots of picks, and zero defensive depth this season after Reilly and Gardiner. Buffalo should also probably be in the conversation, as they’re playoff-bound for the first time in ages, , they have some good prospects, lots of picks, and little defensive depth after Dahlin and Ristolainen.

  • Puck Viking

    Id say the best chance and fit is the Jets. Im aiming to get back a 1st and David Gustaffson. Kristian Vesalainen would be nice but I dont see that happening plus at least the 1st could be used on defense and I believe Kristian Vesalainen would need to be protected in the expansion draft making things even more difficult.

    • Sandpaper

      No offense Puck, but at this present time, we have Bo Elias Brock and Jake that are worth protecting, by the time expansion rolls around. IMO
      The rest are placeholders.
      Demko and Juolevi are the other 2, that should get consideration.

      • Puck Viking

        Today but in a 2 years time you have Lind, Goldy, Dahlen, Sven, Gaudette, Macewan, Lievo and JV all need to be protected.
        Yes not the end of the world but why not plan for the future while still fixing our biggest need which is clearly defense. In no way would I say no to KV, but if that deal would be available I would start looking to move players you dont see with any clear future now while we are rebuilding plus still thinking long term. With this team “rebuilding” now is the time to make this happen.

        • Goon

          Assuming Lind, Dahlen, and MacEwan all develop into good NHL players and Goldobin, Baertschi, Lievo and Virtanen are still with the team. There’s no guarantee of any of those things.

    • Goon

      No one is trading a first and a prospect for three months of Edler – not the Jets, not the Islanders. They’re not trading an A defensive prospect for some castoffs and B prospects, either. Lamoriello and Cheveldayoff aren’t idiots.

      • Puck Viking

        Look at returns over the years and yes players like edler get you a first or a good prospect. Burrows got Dahlen, Hansen got goldy and Edler is much better than both and is probably the best LHD at the TDL. So if we get offered a 1st or Wilde I take it. If we could grab Dobson and had to add I would do that too.

        • Defenceman Factory

          I think targeting good young D is the right thing to do. We don’t necessarily have the right pieces. Make trades, acquire the picks you can and use those as the currency to make a deal.

    • speering major

      I would love to get a first rounder for Edler but my guess is that he doesn’t waive. Waiving means he lives in 3 cities in the next 6 months. He signed with a NTC to avoid that in the first place. My guess is he doesn’t waive and in that scenario the best move for Benning is to sign him for 3 years or less.

      It would have been ideal if Benning could have got the first from EDM or NYI last season. Having Bouchard or Dobson in the system accelerates the rebuild by a lot. Most D prospects take 3-5 years to become NHL ready. Top prospects like that could be ready as early as next season. Drafting a D (that makes it) this season puts the team years behind Bouchard or Dobson. It also makes it more difficult to move someone like Tanev

      • Goon

        If he waives, it’s basically an extended road trip for him to end the season. He won’t sell his house and relocate, he’ll live out of a hotel for a couple of months. Most players will trade that minor inconvenience for the opportunity to make a cup run with a contending team.

        Asking Edler to waive his NTC with a year or two left on the contract is one thing, but asking him to waive for the last couple months is totally different. It’s up to Benning to sell the player on waiving being a good move for Edler, and if he can’t convince him that’s the case, that’s on Benning.

        • kermit

          Picking the Stanley Cup champion is like betting on a horse race. As for being part of a cup run, he’s been there and done that in 2011. New city, new dressing room, living out of suitcase for months and not seeing your family. This is why Sundin said no to the Leafs when they asked him to waive. The only team that might make sense from his perspective is San Jose, at least it’s in the same time zone.

        • Hack-smack-whack

          Not everyone wants to win as a rental.. so no, it’s not on Benning. Of course you have to approach Edler in this last year year of his contract, and try to sell it as you suggest, but if he chooses to decline chasing a cup in this way, you have to leave it at that. He can make up his own mind if he wants to be a rental or not. Do you really disrespect Edler that much, after all he’s done here, that you think Benning can tell him what’s best for him as if he was a rookie? Come on.

          • Goon

            It is Benning’s job to do what’s best for the team, which is trade Edler. It’s Benning’s job to convince Edler to accept a trade. If Benning can’t convince Edler to accept a trade, he hasn’t done his job.

            Too many people around here have far too narrow a view of the GM’s job. It’s Benning’s job to generate interest in Edler, to negotiate a high return, and to convince Edler to agree to it. If he can’t do those things, he’s failed. It was the same with Hamhuis. Benning’s job isn’t to sit there fielding calls and saying “Yes or no”, and then go to the player and say “hey here’s the deal, you want it?”

            It’s to generate interest, to create competition between teams, to convince other teams he has the player that’s going to put them over the top and that they should pay for that player with a solid return, and it’s to then convince the player to accept the trade. He is *really* bad at this part of his job.

        • jaybird43

          If you can’t convince me to do something I dont have to, and dont want to, that’s not “on you”. At most, we disagree. At least, I’ve exercised my rights and autonomy. And that, is “on me”.

      • Puck Viking

        Maybe the Oilers get desperate at the TDL and some how you can package a few things and perhaps money back to get Bouchard but doubtful.

        Fabro from Nashville perhaps if they have an injury to the defense at the end of the year..

        We basically have to hope for a bidding war and be willing to eat salary and/or take money back to improve the return.

        • speering major

          I don’t see how They make a deal happen for Bouchard. EDM has cap issues and is thin on the blueline. Bouchard is a huge piece for that team and fits perfectly for them. It would have been best to pursue the pick before he was selected. Even taking on Lucic’s contract wouldn’t have been that big of a problem when you look at the fact they signed Roussel for 4 years + Schaller. I wouldn’t want the Lucic contract and hate Eriksson’s also, but having Bouchard or Dobson in the system might be worth it. Unfortunately that ship has sailed imo.

          The Oilers could be an option to move Edler but there’s no way Bouchard is available for any of the Canucks Vets

  • Erik Lonnrot

    In the past Edler has been pretty clear that he is not interested in waiving his NTC. Has he said or done anything to indicate otherwise this season?

  • tyhee

    I think any discussion of the Senators is fanciful at best. The article claims they’re in a wildcard position in the East but as I look at the standings right now I see them tied for 12th in the east, with teams around them having games in hand such that Ottawa has the 15th best record, as determined by percentage of possible points won, of the 16 Eastern Conference teams.

    Also, on a team with Thomas Chabot, Edler would not immediately become the team’s best defenceman.

    • speering major

      Yeah this is an exploitable situation. His desperation got him in a ton of trouble but he can’t reverse course now. He’s in win now mode and that makes for a good trading partner with a rebuilding team

      I would think Van’s rebuild would be in far better shape with Bouchard in the system

      • No way Chiarelli trades Bouchard. They’ve been dying for an offensive RHD for years. But I think we’re better off with Hughes than Bouchard, his skating and vision is unique and should open up time and space for skilled forwards like Boeser and Pettersson.

        • speering major

          I agree. Posted this above

          “I don’t see how They make a deal happen for Bouchard. EDM has cap issues and is thin on the blueline. Bouchard is a huge piece for that team and fits perfectly for them. It would have been best to pursue the pick before he was selected. Even taking on Lucic’s contract wouldn’t have been that big of a problem when you look at the fact they signed Roussel for 4 years + Schaller. I wouldn’t want the Lucic contract and hate Eriksson’s also, but having Bouchard or Dobson in the system might be worth it. Unfortunately that ship has sailed imo.

          The Oilers could be an option to move Edler but there’s no way Bouchard is available for any of the Canucks Vets”

        • kermit

          Edmonton doesn’t know what they have in Bouchard yet, he hasn’t had enough exposure to the nhl game. But they have high expectations. Trading him for a rental would be suicide. Even if we through in a prospect like Woo, they still wouldn’t go for it.

  • Alex G

    The Senators are not “currently holding down a wildcard spot in the East”. They are 5 points out of a wildcard spot with all the wildcard hopefuls (except the Wings) with 1-3 games in hand above them. The odds of them making the playoffs are tiny based on their current trend and their pile of injuries at the moment. While they don’t need to tank due to giving up their 1st round pick to the Av’s, they still are rebuilding and have zero incentive to trade a prospect for a rental dman.

  • Kanuckhotep

    Ah, Edler has a NTC and why would he waive it now to go to a team that might just get bounced in the first round? I know this is a fantasy article which is fun to discuss but nobody is giving up a first rounder for Eddie unless they’re stupid. (Chiarelli comes to mind) #23 will be here at least until season’s end and then let Benning decide what he’ll do then. Just sayin’.

  • Holly Wood

    Pointless exercise. Edler has no reason to give up his well earned NTC. A previous post reminds us that Edler left money on the table in exchange for that clause.

  • Alex G

    I think the Avs, Sabres, Jets, and Leafs make up the best possibilities. With the upcoming expansion draft, it makes most sense to target a draft pick or an 18 or year old prospect vs. a prospect who turns 20 before Dec. 2019 that will play or has played this season.
    I think the best target is the Avs, who have 5 picks, including two1sts, in the first 3 rounds. They are a contender and Edler would really solidify their D for a cup run.

    • Defenceman Factory

      I’d agree if we were just talking about forward prospects but if the Canucks could somehow swing a deal for a burgeoning 20 yr old RHD they need to do it. Keep Hughes out of the league this season, trade Tanev next year, protect the new Dman, Hutton and Stecher and risk the rest. If Juolevi or another prospect emerges, leave Hutton exposed.

  • Ty Webb

    Alex Edler leads the Canucks blue line in total minutes played per game, and he plays a significant portion of power play and penalty killing minutes. IF he decides to waive and they trade him, a competent player must be coming back the othe other way to fill those minutes because juolevi isn’t ready to step into that kind of a roll yet. A 1st round pick is pretty much a pipe dream and likely only happens if the Canucks give Edler permission to talk extensions prior to the trade. Without that option, if The Canucks can get a Goldobin type deal for 3 months of Edlers service then we should consider that a win.

    • DJ_44

      I agree with part of this statement: that Edler will get a wavering prospect (a Goldobin type) and a mid rounder (maybe a second). Talk of last year first rounders is a bit rich.

      As far as having to get a competent Dman in return, this is not required. They have McEnemy, Sautner (injured and status questionable) Briesbois and Juolevi. They will are not #1 Dmen as Edler is, however they are young and developing. There is also the LHD kid at Michigan that is apparently okay as well.

      • Missing Burr

        Always fun to laugh-out-loud at the same clueless yapper who told us

        “… and Holm, who I like way more than Hutton, will be a solid bottom pair guy with ability and upside.” – DJ_44


        “Poulliot is an NHL defenseman. Hutton is NOT.” – DJ_44

        *chuckle* – guys, this deluded muppet makes Nolan Baumgartner look good!

  • Kootenaydude

    Tell Edler if he goes to another team at the trade deadline. You’ll sign and extend him in the summer. He helps the team. The team helps him. I don’t know if that’s legal though.

  • truthseeker

    Finally, someone understands a fair appraisal of the value of D. Most would have Edler being given away for a 2nd round pick or something….lol. Cheers to being realistic and basing it on previous precedent.

    One thing I would say is the canucks should not make a trade if there isn’t a D prospect coming back, if there isn’t a first round pick involved. That’s also been something established if you look at the historical recent trades for D. Teams always want a young D prospect back. So for me that takes those Pens prospects off the table unless the first round is included or that center prospect is really good.

    A lot has been said about Edler not waiving and that could be very true, but I suspect it would be situation dependent for him. Maybe he’d say no to going east, but yes to going a few hours away to SJ for a few months before he hits free agency.

    It could go either way. I don’t think it’s as sure a thing that he won’t waive as many are speculating. I guess we’ll find out after the trade deadline.

  • Sharpshooter

    Another possibility that might make sense could be Nashville. Edler is an upgrade on Hamhuis at his current age, and Nashville has a LEGIT shot at the cup, much like the Jets. If I were Poile, I would be looking for a LHD like Edler that can have a positive shot share impact vs 2nd – 4th liners and eat PK minutes, helping keep Josi and Ekholm a lot more fresh for a deeper run.

    • Nuck16

      It might not be the wisest approach in terms of organization reputation, but one way to get him to waive his NTC is to say if he does’t agree he’ll be waived. I think he’d rather provide a list of 15 teams rather than get waived and get picked up by some random team.

      • jaybird43

        I think the long-term outcome of THAT move would defeat the short term improvement. Talk about toxic, where your employer cares not a whit about what you have done for them for many many years. Might as well hang a sign up saying, no free agents wanted (cause there would surely be a reduced offering of them). My 2 cents …