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Photo Credit: Charles LeClaire - USA TODAY Sports

Chris Tanev and Alex Edler: What do you do?

Generally, I try to avoid building content off of other people’s work but Elliotte Friedman’s 31 thoughts is always a goldmine of information. So, it can be hard to not have the mind start running after reading it every week.

For this week’s edition, there was a really interesting point about the Canucks:

That exact question of ‘what do you do?’ is something that will linger for the remainder of this season and into the future.

On the side of resigning Edler, it allows the Canucks to insulate the left side of the ice with Quinn Hughes expected to come in. The Olli Juolevi injury throws a wrench in the plan but I think it’s fair to suggest that the Canucks 1st round selection in 2016 will be a part of that group in the future. No matter how you look it, it would be a young group making up two-thirds of your left side. That would likely leave Ben Hutton or Troy Stecher for the third spot and it’s a really green side of the ice.

I am not suggesting that re-signing Edler is the right move but it would make sense given the familiarity with the organization and his ability to play in all situations. If you aren’t signing him, then you are likely targeting someone else on the UFA market to replace him. With the added wrinkle of the Juolevi injury, the justification for going down that avenue is defensible.

On the other side of the ice is Chris Tanev.

We can comfortably suggest that at this moment, a Tanev trade would not provide the same return as years past and that is part of the problem. Tanev’s play has slowly declined, he’s continued to suffer some injuries, and thus teams may not be as aggressive in trading for him. There would still be a soft market for him and the Canucks could move him if they wanted to but the return will never be as high as it was a year ago (or prior).

He does have a year left after this season and thus some of those worries could be alleviated if he plays well and is able to stay healthy.

Both players may not return huge packages but they also do have value to teams and even more so at the trade deadline of the respective final years of their contracts. The Canucks have the ability to retain salary on both of them and thus could increase their value even more.

As Friedman suggests, keeping either player (or both) would make the Canucks deeper in the near term. It gives the organization the ability to not rush their defensive prospects and also not be forced into shopping for assistance there. We’ve seen the defensive group struggle for years and changes need to be made there but these two players could be part of the long-term transition instead of moved out.

With that being said, moving both of them to acquire assets to make this team better in the long term is likely the best option. It always comes back to opportunity cost, which is as follows:

Opportunity costs represent the benefits an individual, investor or business misses out on when choosing one alternative over another.

By the Canucks choosing the alternative avenue, which is to keep and/or re-sign these players, they are paying that cost by missing out on adding other pieces.

That could happen in a variety of ways:

  • Cap dollars freed up (mostly Tanev) to leverage in trades or free agency
  • Assets acquired to trade for other pieces (i.e. receive a pick in the deal, then send said pick to another team)
  • Picks and prospects to continue to push the pipeline upwards and support the current new core
  • Spots taken in the lineup to thrust players into

They all matter to a varying degree and all take time to fully flush out but that is some of the underlying opportunity cost that comes with keeping them.


Without a doubt, balancing the desire to be competitive on a nightly basis and having eyes on the future is a delicate thing that changes almost every day.

For the Canucks, it makes sense in a vacuum why you would want to have some veteran defenceman within in the organization to help the young guys coming. But on the flip side, if the Canucks are unwilling to part with futures (nor should they!), how are they going to improve this group today or when Elias Pettersson, Bo Horvat, Brock Boeser and others reach their peak.

It’ll be really interesting to see how the Canucks handle Edler this season and Tanev next year. If the Canucks are not going to re-sign Edler, then they have to move him at the deadline. The same can be said about Tanev for next year.

Honestly, dealing with the short term pain of moving these guys for the long-term gain of asset accumulation is probably the best course of action. But sports can be tough and if the excitement about those aforementioned young Canucks wears off after a boatload of losing, it could lead to different changes in the organization. Although that is unlikely, it still can happen.

Now we wait to see how they handle this situation.

  • Re sign Edler, he is the current #1. With Tanev you could listen to offers but his value seems to be dropping so what you may receive in return may not be worth having him leave. Plus you still have one more year. Quality D is hard to acquire so unless the offer blows you away it’s not worth it.

      • Edlers agent stated that trade and re-sign was a dangerous for his client as there is NO way of guarantee it will happen, it’s a hand shake deal and he advises against it. I can see his point, Edler might get injured as an example. Another D might pop up out of the blue, maybe Weber wants of of Mtl fro example. Too many what if’s. This business not a Disney production.

          • Sorry I don’t agree there is significant risk.

            Yes the probability of re-signing Edler goes down if he is traded. What is the impact of that on the team next year and over the long term. If the return on Edler is substantial and of a long term benefit the net on the trade is positive. If Edler is successfully re-signed you have a greater net benefit. The real risk is in not trading him because either way the net benefit is positive.

            The Canucks are still at best a marginal playoff team with Edler next year. How much worse are they if Hutton moves to first pairing, a different UFA is signed or someone is brought up from Utica? Do they finish 20th or 25th instead of 15th? so what. Another year with a higher draft pick.

            It will only be after there is an upgrade to the top D the Canucks are true contenders. Re-signing Edler only makes them marginally better in the short term.

  • “Cap dollars freed up (mostly Tanev) to leverage in trades or free agency” given benning’s record on free agent signings, i laughed so hard i could have passed a grilled cheese sandwich through my nose after reading this.

  • The team is thin on D. Edler has a NTC and an expiring contract. The worst case is to let him go for nothing. He likely won’t waive but that would be ideal. In that scenario, re signing him to a shorter term seems like the next best option

    I would move Tanev. Try to get a first round pick. If that’s not available maybe take a bad contract in return to sweeten the pot to make it happen. The Canucks should be drafting a ton of D. Trading guys like Sutter and Tanev should get extra picks

    The interesting thing about rebuilds is that you usually have a garbage team and an empty arena. With the young stars exciting the fans, attendance should be just fine. Hughes and this years first rounder will only add to that. This should buy the team some patience that many rebuilding orgs can’t afford. D take longer to develop so draft them in bunches ASAP. There is also an expansion draft coming up. Being patient allows you to sit back and assess the situation with both roster players and prospects progression. When the expansion draft comes, players will become available. Players will be lost. There will also be free agency. Sitting back for another season is the best move IMO. Let things play out next season and then make a move when the picture is more clear at the end of next season. If they had moved Tanev last year they could have plugged in a guy like Garrison or Bieksa and the team would be in a much better situation. You need to suffer and be patient in the rebuild and the exciting young forwards and fan base should give the organization some breathing room

  • The Canucks have tons of options on the left side down the road: Hughes, Juolevi, Hutton, McEneny, Brisebois, Sautner, Rathbone, maybe Utenen or even Tryamkin. Even Del Zotto or Pouliot are serviceable options as a 4th left defenseman.

    This means that the Canucks don’t have to be overly generous. A one or two year contract with Edler at a moderate salary ($3.5 million?) means the Canucks won’t be forced to play a prospect before he’s ready. And if Edler becomes redundant, the mistake is not too expensive.

    And if the offer is not to Edler’s liking then a warm and very sincere thank-you-for-your-services is appropriate.

    • I like the idea of getting his permission to trade him to a top cup contender this year as a strict rental and the agree to re-sign back here for the term you suggest. Win – Win.

      • Are there rules governing those kinds of agreements? Playing for one NHL team while having an agreement — even an informal one — with another sounds a little dodgy.

        • Not sure why you got downvoted for this – such agreements are prohibited by the CBA.

          Benning can certainly say “we intend to make you a reasonable offer if you hit free agency” before trading him, but anything more than that could get him in serious trouble with the league.

    • The guy was and is a warrior for you. The best D-man to put on the uniform and you think 3.5 would be a good offer? Two years at 5 mill per. He earned that respect.Their D core doesn’t have anybody but those two who can play those heavy minutes at this time.

      • Edler has been well compensated over his career. His total earnings while with the Canucks is around $45 million. The Canucks owe him respect, but do not owe him — or any player — a generous new contract. That’s not the way it works.

        • Term and value for Edler is not driven by the respect the Canucks have for Alex, or loyalty Edler has for the Canucks. He is a valuable commodity and if he hits the market; there will be teams lining up and willing to pay. I would think the minimum term is 3 years (probably looking for 4) and the AAV will be $5M for 3 and probably $4 to 4.5M for 4.

          • Fine, then bobdaley44 should have made that argument instead of saying what a warrior Edler has been.

            But hockey players can fall off quickly in the 30’s, as Eriksson has demonstrated, and given the options that the Canucks have on the left side, there’s no need to make a big offer. Maybe go to $4 million, but no more. And certainly no more than two years.

            There may well be a club willing to make a better offer. Good for Edler. May he enjoy playing for his new club.

        • What do you think playing 20 plus minutes a night, power play, penalty kill and matching up against other teams top lines gets you? Tell me who they have to replace those minutes. Stecher, Pouliot? You think Edler being out and the Nucks going on a huge losing skid is a coincidence?

  • Edler has repeatedly said he will not waive his no trade clause. The best option is to re-sign him for perhaps three years. Tanev is past his best due date because of injuries so a bit of a conundrum there. You could possibly package him with other pieces and see if there is any interest.

  • The Canucks don’t have many options on the right side down the road: Stecher, Gudbranson, Woo, and Eliot. Chatfield is not having a good year, but he might still be viable. If the situation doesn’t improve then they might have little choice but to offer Tanev a generous extension. Playing a left-shooting D on the right side is not optimal but they may need to do it.

    • Chatfield having a broken foot and being out for 4-6 months sucks. While healthy Cory H reported Chatfield and Juolevi having great starts to the season being the teams top pairing tandem.

        • Ryan had said he broke his vanicular bone and likely out another couple months( Dec 18th on TSN) and hes been out since nov 17th. Didnt mention surgery but that particular bone in the foot can cause grief so a 4-6 month time frame is normal.

  • Given the ongoing uncertainty that surrounds Juolevi’s season ending injury it would not hurt the Canucks to re- sign Edler for a couple of seasons after this one. Abandon the fantasy of Eddie waiving his NTC. Why would he, and now? Edler and Tanev are a very reliable veteran D pair as mentioned before and it’s hard to replace experience like they have. Tani has probably lost a step but perhaps Jim Benning can get something for him. (A 1st rounder is also a dream IMO) Envisioning only Hughes making the 19-20 roster as a new D prospect the VC may just have to keep one of #23 and/or #8. Just don’t feel good about OJ at the moment.

  • I found the other mention by Friedman was more interesting. First Rodin, then Demko and now Juolevi. Is Benning over ruling the team doctors or is he making his own medical diagnostics? Does he think the myth of Bobby Baun should apply to todays players? It is weird.

    28. Vancouver GM Jim Benning was tight-lipped and wouldn’t give any great detail as to why Olli Juolevi‘s injury timeline changed. You’ll remember that last year doctors looked at Shea Weber’s knee and said this is worse than we thought, so that can happen. What the Canucks are going to have to communicate to both current players and potential recruits is that there isn’t a problem with the way they’re diagnosing injuries.

  • Trade them both.

    There is absolutely nothing available for teams who want to upgrade their defense for a playoff push. Neither of these 2 will have anything to do with the team when it is making a push for the playoffs.

    The longer we wait the more the value of both will increase. Hopefully deals can be made similar to the Burrows and Hansen deals where you are getting a player a couple years along the development curve. But unlike those deals these would have to bring back defense and if not then at minimum a 1st round pick.

    Winnipeg, Colorado, Buffalo, Washington, NYI, Tampa, Pittsburgh could all use a LHD, with some of those teams having multiple 1st rounders and solid prospects. I would then try to resign Edler to a 1 or 2 year deal.

    Toronto, NYI, Pittsburgh, Dallas could all use a RHD so if you can get at least a 1st or prospect then move Tanev.

    If this defense isnt rebuilt we are just going to turn in to the leafs of old or the oilers.

    Not only should these 2 be moved but so should Sutter(full time spot for AG) and a LW(then bring up Dahlen).

    Moving these 4 players would allow us to shore up the defense in one draft.

    Our top pick should be BPA with every other pick in the top 3 rounds being defense and goaltending, unless someone who they have rated way higher slips.

    It then gives you all of next season to see how the forward and defense prospects to develop and any holes that you see use the following draft to fill them.

    It would leave us with a defense for next season of:

    Hughes Stetcher
    Hutton Gudbranson
    Joulevi Tryamkin/UFA
    Edler??

    • Pretty much my thoughts. Also you can always put a LHD on the right side in a pinch. When you look at guys like Woo, O.J., Chatfield, + Draft picks in the second half of next season you can then assess any trade or FA signings you should (or shouldn’t) pursue. For example if Hughes emerges as someone you will be able to pencil in as a true #1 D then you just need to surround him with solid players. You don’t need to pursue Karlsson/Doughty/Subban types. It would be nice to have the Preds D but the teams winning cups usually have a #1 two way D and a solid supporting cast.

    • Ya go and run with that defence and watch them get crushed every night. Hughes and Stecher playing together would be a disaster. Watch them get destroyed down low. Nucks don’t have enough proven depth to move on from Edler, Tanev yet.

  • “What should the team do” and “What will Benning do” are two different questions. The team should trade both Edler and Tanev for picks or solid prospects, and should attempt to re-sign Edler in the off season.

    Based on his track record and comments, I think there’s little to no chance Benning actually does this. The most likely outcome is that Edler will stay and be resigned, and Tanev will play out his contract and may or may not be resigned depending on his play, market interest, and development of Canucks prospects.

  • All this depends on the market value for Edler and Tanev. If a team is willing to give a #1 pick, then you have to take that seriously. If you are trading just to get an asset then there is no point. Edler has a NTC so the point might be moot. If he wants to stay in Van and help the club, he will wave, play somewhere else for a little while, then resign.

    Tanev is more complicated because he has a year left at a decent number. I believe the Canucks have value set on the players and won’t go below that number just to do something. These are valuable, but depreciating players that bring more to the team than just underlying numbers.

  • “If the Canucks are not going to re-sign Edler, then they have to move him at the deadline.” I approve of this, but as repeated ad nauseum, Edler has a full no trade and has repeatedly stated he would not waive.

    I can where they resign Edler, but for how long? Projecting out a couple years, the left side should be Hughes, Juolevi and ?, Hutton certainly seems to be a better long term choice than Edler. Even next year would leave someone on the outside if they are healthy and Juolevi is ready.

    I can see trading Tanev, but the right side is weak. There was no talk in the article about partnering and mentoring Hughes and Juolevi. I believe there is a lot of value in partnering a rookie with a solid veteran who can cover mistakes and provide guidance. Its difficult to develop in a bad situation. If Tanev is traded, Juolevi and Hughes will have to partner with two of Stetcher, Gudbranson and Biega. I’m not sure if that would be good for either player’s development.

    I would still trade them if the return was good enough, but I would keep them if they can’t get a good return.

    • I’d keep both of them for next season.
      Sign Edler to a one year deal with a limited NTC.That way he is in play next season and Juolevi can ease himself in if his strength and conditioning needs honing in Utica to begin the year.
      Potential free agent signings the brass are hoping to sign will determine the final outcome,anyways.
      They made trade Hutton to free up that position for Hughes.

  • I agree with PV – trade them both.
    In re Tryamkin: If he is indeed a healthy scratch, he and his employer are both unhappy. Perhaps he can be brought back cheaply this season.

  • Does Edler bet against himself or does he confidently waive his NTC, have a good playoff run and add a $million to each of the last years of his career. A good showing on a playoff run will add dollars and term to his next contract whether its here or elsewhere.

  • obviously you try and resign edler now at a hometown discount. you won’t find a better ufa on the market for a hometown price, and there is no chance we replace him by development with juolevi and sautner down.

    if edler is not giving a hometown discount then you ask him to agree to be traded at the tdl as a rental in return for an agreement you will resign him at full market value given he let us obtain some value. if he declines then i guess you let him know he is in the mix but you will be testing the ufa and trade markets. you still resign him if you can’t do better.

    we blew this with hamhuis. i hope we don’t do it again.

    as for tanev, i really dunno anymore. logically if edler is staying you move tanev, but the reality is we have no right hand depth either, and i believe his lack of offence hurts his trade value more than canuck fans can admit.

    • I agree. Edler is still the best D-man on the team, and good D-men are hard to come by in free agency. ie MDZ.
      Factor in the hometown discount and a 3 year extension makes sense. Trade Tanev if you get a good offer

  • ” Opportunity costs represent the benefits an individual, investor or business misses out on when choosing one alternative over another.

    By the Canucks choosing the alternative avenue, which is to keep and/or re-sign these players, they are paying that cost by missing out on adding other pieces. ”

    You’re not following this logic through. That’s only the first aspect of it.

    Having Tanev as a canuck for the next 5 years (if they resign him) is also an opportunity that could be lost if they trade him and the return ends up doing or being nothing. Which is by far a more realistic possibility if, for example, his value is only getting back a draft pick. We already know the percentages of almost every draft pick, even first rounders, are no where near the level of D Tanev can provide for the next 5 years.

    https://www.tsn.ca/statistically-speaking-nhl-draft-pick-value-1.786131

    Very realistic to assume he can remain a top 4 D through his next contract. The fact he’s down right now means he will be even better value for money if we resign him and contrary to what others here have said a 5 year deal for him easily puts him in the next “window” of playoff contention. And it’s very realistic to assume the pick we get…even if it’s a first round, which will be a low first rounder most likely will not ever be a top 4 D man. Only around a 30% or less chance of that.

    So there is “opportunity costs” on both sides of this equation which you totally failed to consider aside from this statement;

    “but these two players could be part of the long-term transition instead of moved out.”

    Which comes across as more of an afterthought (especially considering it came before your quote and argument) rather than an analysis like I gave.

    I appreciate the article as it raises some interesting points to consider about both of them but it’s important to think critically and see all the angles.

    This kind of thinking is very prevalent around here (by posters, not you) that future value of the player you are considering trading is rarely taken into consideration as a factor to be measured against what’s coming in.

    It’s also interesting that the mathematics of quality of draft picks is so routinely ignored by people on a site where analytics is used so heavily.

    • I agree with this post for 2 reasons. First, the return for either of those players would be far below what pundits here are suggesting. Edler has 4 months left on his contract, and Tanev has a history of injuries, and shows a decline in his play so far this season. I’d be shocked if they got a low first for either of them, a middling prospect or a second round pick is more likely. And Truthseekers point that the return is statistically unlikely to be an improvement. If I’m Benning, I sign them both right now, although I wouldn’t give Tanev 5 years. I’d say matching 3 year, 5 million per deals would be fair.

      • I don’t know what the market for these players is or will be at the deadline but D usually are in demand and this year seems to have a limited supply. We know Hamhuis had a 1st round pick on the table for him. We know what they got for Burrows and Hansen. It’s not out of line to think it’s possible that first round picks could be on the table.

        When looking at the value of re-signing a guy like Tanev or his current value you cannot just look at his ability but what he actually contributes to a team. When you only play 40 games a season under the cap system that means you have depth players eating up your minutes. That’s a big problem. Having Tanev under contract short term negates much of that risk. Re-signing him long term is a huge risk. A far less risky move would be to pursue someone more consistent like Tyler Myers. Signing aging players on the downside has hamstrung the oilers with Lucic. They’re pressed against the cap and can’t fill other soft spots on the roster. A competing team is willing to pay a premium for the present at the cost of the future. A rebuilding team should be running away from signing players like Lucic and Eriksson. I would also add Tanev to that list. Benning might think it’s best to move him in the off season or next deadline but re-signing him long term or letting his deal expire for nothing is the only mistake he could make.

        Even if you look at this years tank and think about moving Sutter + a top D for two additional picks. Statistically the team has 3 picks in the 20% range in the 2019 draft that could be used on a D + Woo. Then they have their AHL pool + Tryamkin. On top of that, if there’s an excess on the left side, you can have someone switch sides temporarily. Considering this is a rebuild, If the prospect pool isn’t seeing anything notable emerging next season then trade and free agency is another avenue. There are no guarantees but a rebuilding team is going to be far better off with 3 or 4 “20%” top 4 D prospects than signing an injured prone vet on the downside of their career. The “sure thing” isn’t going to win the team games while they are a playoff team.

  • Edler will ask for, and get, a 3 year deal. Anybody who thinks he’ll sign for one year is sniffing glues, for two years is tapping the bong … He and his agent both know this is likely to be his last good contract – no way he does two year deal. Be real people …

  • I think the Canucks keep them both unless they get an offer they can’t refuse. Resign Hutton. Out with MDZ and Pouliot and in with Hughes and Juolevi. See how Tanev and Hughes work out. If they play really well together. You extend Tanev. If not move him.

  • I see a lot of trade Hutton comments. Juolevi hasn’t proved anything so far. We have three LHD spots and four guys fighting over it. Can Juolevi beat out Hutton for one of those spots?! If not, it’s Juolevi that will be on the trading block.

  • Edler and Tanev are both top 4 dmen who play upwards of 40-50 minutes a night combined. Any talk of trading them has to be prefaced by “how do the Canucks replace those minutes?” The fact that they currently have no prospects or young players that can step in, reflects poorly on this management group as they have known for a while that this situation was coming. The “right” thing to do as a team that is rebuilding is trading them for future assets, but that would leave a massive hole on the blue line that next has only Hutton, Gudbranson, and Stretcher are returning next year. Hughes has stated he wants to sign and play next year but there is no guarantee he is ready for a top 4 role. Management have put themselves in a bit of a pickle. In a video game world they trade both players (and sutter) for picks and prospects then use those assets to bring in a quality defenseman (like Calgary has done multiple times in the last few years). It can be done, but I don’t have much faith in JB actually pulling it off.

  • Canucks depth at D is not good.

    Approach Edler and gauge interest in a move and sign. They ‘must’ do this. If the rumour of the Leafs’ interest is real, then it’s worth pursuing. If there is intent to re-sign him next year, then this is a win-win. Even if there is no intent to re-sign, the cost is a conversation and the upside is unmistakeable. Alternatively, I don’t mind keeping Edler for another two years. He will continue to decline, but that’s a lot of experience, skill, size and minutes to help an increasingly younger and less experienced D-corps.

    I keep Tanev. Approach next year with a view to either re-sign or trade him by the deadline. He has more value on an already thin blueline than as a late round pick, which it seems he is mostly likely valued at. I imagine some one (or two?) of Juolevi, Chatfield, Sautner, Brisbois will make the jump fulltime. Add to that the definite possibility of a hockey trade any time between now and then for another corps piece.

    One additional note. I’m 100% against the concept of tanking. If this team is destined to place somewhere between 26th and 20th this year, and that seems plausible, then drafting Bowen Byram or Philip Broberg is for real. I mention it because it might factor into the trade deadline strategy.

  • If I were Benning I would ask Edler if he’s willing to waive his NTC, but I would not pressure him. I would listen to offers on Tanev. He is in decline, and the Canucks really need some RHD prospects. It’s probably worth getting something for him while they can, even if it means a later round pick and/or a second tier prospect.

  • I think it all depends on what you can actually get for either of them. We in the fanbase (probably every fanbase) have a tendency to hugely overestimate what our players (usually our crappy players but our good ones too) are worth. Also, the teams that could really use a solid D option like Edler or Tanev are good ones trying to strengthen for the playoffs. That means it’s not just a first (at best), it’s a low-pick. So is Edler or Tanev worth adding a few more picks? I don’t know. I think the years when we should have had a firesafe are behind us (the bungling of the Hamhuis and Vrbata situations are especially cringeworthy in that respect). What we have now is a collection of really promising young players, with attention necessarily turning more to development than just collecting lottery tickets. A big part of that is trying to create a competitive environment for Horvat, Pettersson, Boeser, Virtanen, Juolevi, Demko, Hughes, and whoever else you deem to be part of the next core. Otherwise you are in a constant downward spiral trying to collect lottery tickets and never trying to solidify your actual team. I’ve seen enough of this team and its potential to be happy with adding the necessary pieces through the draft and focusing on getting the most out of the young players — the Hutton, Virtanen and even Goldobin and Motte stories give you a sense that it’s patience that we need more than anything. And seeing the difference with Tanev and Edler in the lineup makes me think that they are one of the biggest safety nets we can have. For all my doubts about all of their signings, it is indisputable that the vets like Beagle, Eriksson, Roussel and even Gudbranson are creating a more competitive environment for the young forwards. I think having Tanev and Edler is worth more for the development for the young D than in getting more draft picks that won’t hit the ice for another 5-6 years in the NHL.