Photo Credit: Vancouver Canucks/Twitter

Burke: “[Edler] is looking for a three-year deal and Vancouver won’t do it.”

One of the major factors for how this summer will work for the Canucks is the unrestricted free agency of defenceman Alex Edler.

According to Brian Burke during a radio hit on Sportsnet 650, Canucks management and the player is still far apart in contract extension discussions.

“My guess is, and the whispers are, that he’s looking for a three-year deal and Vancouver won’t do it. But I don’t think July 1 is going to get him a three-year deal — I like the player immensely but I wouldn’t give him three years.

“I think it’s a money issue, I think it’s a term issue, I think it’s an expansion issue, and I think what the player is asking for here is not reasonable in light of his injury history.”

Burke has heard some things, whether or not they have some root in the truth, it is still a likely scenario. The 33-year-old blue liner is in his last summer as a free agent before his career in the NHL is over, looking for more term makes sense.

A three-year contract would mean that this new deal would count as a 35+ contract, resulting in the Canucks being responsible for the entire cap hit during the length of the extension. Not ideal and the likely cause for Vancouver being hesitant to discuss a new contract with that length.

It’s not only the term either, Burke mentions the dollar value being an issue, as well as the upcoming Seattle expansion draft. The amount of cap makes sense, the Canucks should want to limit the impact of a hypothetical Edler extension on future negotiations with their young players needing post-entry level contracts.

When it comes to expansion as well, Edler’s potential new deal would be a significant issue. If the defenceman is still under contract for that draft, that means another protection spot being occupied and the risk of losing a better player becomes more realistic.

Burke makes a few great points in this short hit when it comes to re-signing Edler, signing the player to any significant length would be a risk that the Canucks are obviously hesistant to make. Injuries have plagued Edler’s career and beyond that, the type of contract that he reportedly wants is out of Vancouver’s budget and too far beyond a realistic timeline.

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Just looking around the league, multiple teams have overpaid veterans that were signed to lengthy contracts and the team that made the signing is now suffering because of the mistake they made. Regardless of legacy within an organization, it helps to not have those kind of deals lingering in the future, no matter how difficult and emotional the decision might be.

If what Burke is saying is true, it’s a good sign that Canucks management learned their lesson and won’t extend the player if the deal doesn’t make sense for the present and future cap structure.

Read also: 

Why Alex Edler Might Test The Market—And Then Sign In Vancouver Anyway


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  • Beer Can Boyd

    Good. The guy is overrated in this market and by this fan base for sure, mostly due to the Canucks astonishingly bad history of defensemen. The fact that he’s in the conversation for the teams best defenseman ever is proof of that. He wouldn’t even be in the top 10 for a lot of teams.

    • Killer Marmot

      He wouldn’t even be in the top 10 for a lot of teams.

      Edler was 19th in points per game among all NHL defensemen this season, and 13th in goals per game. This suggests he would be a first-pairing defenseman on most teams. Certainly no worse than second pairing.

      • FinkFast

        He is saying top 10 all time for other teams. Not top 10 on other teams current roster. Which seems fair.

        Edler may be the Canucks #1 all time defensen. Which speaks for us historically having iffy D. Since many teams could name 5 or 10 better than him easily over their history.

        • Killer Marmot

          Oh, my mistake. Recalibrating…

          Edler ‘s 127th in total points of any defenseman ever, and 111th in goals. And that was done entirely with the Canucks.

          Given that a team’s top defensemen of all time is a function of both talent and time spent with the team, Edler would probably be in the top three of most teams.

          • Jamie E

            A contract is about paying for the future, not the past. Edler has been and is a very good NHL d-man, but with his age, injury history and – most importantly – the upcoming expansion draft, the Canucks need to be mercenary about term. I’m all for over paying him for two years. Give him $8 million for the next two seasons, but DO NOT give him the third year, especially with the NMC he will insist on.

          • Killer Marmot

            A contract is about paying for the future, not the past.

            I never said different. I was rebutting the allegation that Edler wouldn’t be in the top ten defensemen all time for most teams.

          • Beer Can Boyd

            Yup. 127th all time. Just slightly behind greats such as Adrian Aucoin, Dave Manson, Stefan Persson and Eric Weinrich. But he is ahead of Jamie Macoun and Todd Gill, so theres that.

          • Beer Can Boyd

            “He wouldn’t even be in the top 10 for a lot of teams” is what I actually said. Certainly not any of the original 6. And my real point is that he is over rated in this market, and being #127 of all time in defenseman scoring does not change any of that. And he is not worth a 3 year deal with a NMC at this point to the Canucks, that is inarguable.

          • Killer Marmot

            Beer Can: When you make a factual statement that turns out to be not factual at all, it’s best to just to own up to it. Otherwise jerks like me are going to keep knawing at it.

            If Edler were a Blackhawk he would be 5th in goals and 6th in points amonst all-time Chicago defensemen. If he were a Red Wing he would be 3rd and 4th. If he were a Ranger he would be 5th and 5th.

          • truthseeker

            Sorry Killer….but as I’ve said many times before…people here don’t like logic. They prefer emotionalism, sweeping generalizations, and general self loathing.

          • Beer Can Boyd

            Ok, if points are the standard by which we judge defensemen, then Edler is indeed every teams all time top 10. He still is an oft injured, aging, 30 point a year guy who has hindered the teams rebuild in 2 successive seasons, and in no way deserves a 3 year deal with an NMC. And coincidentally had his best year in ages in a contract season. Happy now?

    • North Van Halen

      I don’t think he’s overrated by most of us, a really decent #2 dman and a really good 3.
      I think what out 50 year plague of mediocre defenders has made us is terrified of losing any above average defenseman knowing, for some reason, we can’t replace them.
      Personally, I think it’s great Benning is making a stand here, keeping the long term front and centre. If Edler wouldn’t waive his no trade and now is demanding a full 3 year term, a NMC & full value, he’s going to lose the good will he’s built up around here and to paraphrase Burke, ‘there will be a line up of people ready to personally drive Edler to the airport.’

    • bobdaley44

      You may think he’s overrated and I agree 3 years is too much but just watch the gong show without him. He’s the only size and physicality they have back there not to mention a minute muncher who plays both PK and PP. If they didn’t have him last year they would have got punished every night. Problem with the Nucks is, besides potentially Juolevi, they don’t have a guy who’s going to fill that void. Hughes will be a great offensive addition but he won’t be matched up against other teams top lines, is too small and plays so so D. Should be interesting what happens.

    • Nuck16

      Edler is overrated. For the past 4 seasons, at least 50% of the time he was not playing well enough to be in the league. That’s not consistent enough for a guy that want 7+ mil in his mid 30’s on a 3yr deal. Everyone says we can’t replace him, but how about throwing that 7 mil at a younger premium UFA that plays consistent. We don’t need a PP QB for now with Hughes arrival, so why pay for one.

      • DogBreath

        Like who? The problem is there aren’t really anyone in this crop of UFAs. Karlson, Myers and Gardner are all getting over–paid for what they’re going to deliver. Stralman is a possibility. After that magical younger premium UFAs don’t exist.

        Set a decision date prior to the draft so they can make moves on draft day. Put a two-year offer on the table at a slight over-payment ($6-6.5?). If he really wants to stay in Vancouver he’ll take it. If he doesn’t, its time to move on. However, if he moves on, we should brace for next years D to be a shLt show.

  • J-Canuck

    I’m glad GMJB is standing fast at 2 yrs. I love Edler and hope he retires a Canuck, but not at the risk of the future of the team.
    I believe Benning hasn’t learned a lesson, but is starting new with a young team. While the Sedins were still playing the team wanted to try and win now, which means FA you usually overpay. Now the team is building with a core that is early 20s. Different mindset

  • Green Bastard

    Just like many of the lifers on this forum, Eddy has far outlived his best-by date so let the aging, injury prone bum walk. Time for change.

    Let’s be honest, there is more chance of my obsessed stalkers here getting lives than Edler getting the absurd term and dollar he is asking for lol.

    Now, how about those St Louis Blues… looks like non physical smurfs are out of favor again now… time to change it up yet again Jimbo. Bring back Tree and Pedan lol

  • Captain Video

    I’ve enjoyed watching the guy play since he was with the Rockets, but a three year contract would be poison for this franchise. Hang tough on term Jimbo!

  • Kanuckhotep

    Take the two years, Eddie. You’ve been a loyal foot soldier for the franchise but business is business and no way you should be on the protected list when Seattle’s expansion draft take place. What, keep him and let someone like Shotgun get plucked by a club who’ll be in our division? Hold fast, GMJB!!!

    • IBT

      Too much emphasis on loyalty in Vancouver. The guy is making pretty good money. If he walks he gets the same deal Vancouver offers but could be anywhere. So if he is exposed and taken by Seattle it is a two hour drive from Vancouver where his wife and kids can continue their life. Lot’s of real people who have to travel for their work.

  • Goon

    Give him the extra year, but no protection from trades and make it backdive/pay out most of the final year as a July 1st bonus. That way he can be easily traded either as a cap move to a floor team in the final year, or at the trade deadline for no actual dollars to the team on the receiving end, or he can be taken by Seattle.

    Edler wants to stay in Vancouver, and he wants a three year deal, and he wants to be paid like a top-pairing defenceman, then he has to give something up in return.

  • apr

    Someone is going to give him what he wants. Watch us trade Tanev for Zaitsev and a third, only to see Edler sign with the Leafs. A pretty good second pair of Tanev-Edler playing behind Reilly-Muzzin. Our second pair is Hutton-Zaitsev. Ehw. That’s so Canucks.

    • Goon

      On the flip side, the Canucks could sign Gardiner away from the Leafs.

      Also, if Edler’s gone, who is the Canucks top-pairing LD in your scenario? Juolevi? I think they’re running with Hutton. I like Hutton, but no team should be going into a season with him as their #1 D, and a rookie who missed most of last season definitely shouldn’t be your top pairing guy either.

      • argoleas

        A left side of Hutton, Hughes, and Juolevi/Sautner… is indeed not ideal. Now, Hutton with either Stecher or Tanev may make for a decent shutdown pair. Hughes would be tasked to take over PP1 duties (least of our worries). It would come down to how ready Juolevi would be for NHL duty, and Tanev. If this was about Edler leaving but a durable and healthy Tanev staying, then that’s one thing. Hutton and Tanev seemed to form a fairly good Dpair 2 years ago, when they were actually paired up. But now?

        • bobdaley44

          Hutton on a shutdown pair? That would lead to one memorable season and all for the wrong reasons. Hutton decision making, physicality, gap control and defensive prowess just won’t cut it. Package him. I like Stetcher and his heart but at 5’7″ and no shot not sure he’d be your shutdown minute munching Edler replacement.

  • Killer Marmot

    Two years is perfect for the organization even if it means Edler’s salary is generous and there’s a No Movement Clause. I could live with three years provided the cap hit is no more than $5 million per year and there was no NMC in the last year.

    • jaybird43

      This is the classic customer service issue wherein the customer picks two of the following three and the business picks the other: price, time, quality.
      In this case Eddie gets to pick two of the following and a GM picks the other: NMC contract, ~$6m per year for three years; city of choice.

  • I can’t understand why Edler would want to be such a hard liner for an extra year or more money. His last contract recognized a decline in his play by paying him $1.5M less in the last year ($4.5M vs. $6.0M in the previous 3 years). As for the extra year, if he really wants to stay, couldn’t he simply sign for two years and if Vegas drafts him, simply say no and resign with Vancouver as a UFA a week and a half later?

    • truthseeker

      Speculation. Meaningless speculation. You have no clue if he’s being a “hard liner”. It’s not even July 1 yet. Maybe everything is going totally amicably and both sides have simply agreed to wait for July 1 to see what the market will bear.

    • DogBreath

      Deals like these require a timeline that creates urgency for both parties to reach a deal. Right now there’s no urgency, so no need for Edler’s agent to move off their alleged position. I like some of the suggestions here whereby its a 3 year deal, with the first two being NMC. That seems like a win-win.

  • DJ_44

    A three-year contract would mean that this new deal would count as a 35+ contract, resulting in the Canucks being responsible for the entire cap hit during the length of the extension.

    Was this Burke’s comment? It is just flat out wrong. A 35+ contract is for those players that were 35 years of age when they signed the contract… this is the language (numerous places) in the CBA

    … Player was age 35 or older
    (as of June 30 prior to the League Year in which the SPC is
    to be effective), …

    There are reasons for being wary of term on an Edler extension, this is not one of them.

  • bushdog

    this has become a joke! edler wants to live here. edler won’t drop his no trade…but he loves it here and won’t go anywhere else. and to prove it he wants Everything his way! offer him a 2 year deal at 4m with a minor no move. if he doesn’t like it he can lump it and walk. then we’ll see how much he loves playing and living here. this is pure crap. take what you’re offered edler – or get out of town in a hurry!!

  • TD

    I’d give him the 2 years back at 6 mil. The cap has gone up dramatically since he signed his last deal, so 6 mil isn’t that much any more. I wouldn’t be against 7 mil either. The key is that contract ends before they need to give Pettersson and Hughes their new contract. Edler can also eat heavy minutes and protect Hughes and Juolevi for the next two years while they learn the league. Hopefully in two years, Hughes and Juolevi will be ready to Be the first and second pairing left defensemen.

    A 3 year deal for Edler, or a longer term deal for someone like Gardiner, messes this up as you will end up with your 3rd pairing guy making big money.

  • argoleas

    If management does not want to give Edler more than 2 years because of reasonable worries about his age and health, only to turn around and shower a Gardiner with a $8.0M AAV, 7-year deal with full NMC, well, that would be quite confusing.

    • North Van Halen

      5 years younger. 79+ games 5 of the last 6 years, .5ppg average the last 4 years.
      Not saying I’d go 7*8mil but I’d be more willing to go past 2 years with him than Edler.

      • argoleas

        But the key objection on management’s part may be that they will want their younger prospects to not be blocked in 2 or so years. Gardiner’s contract could do just that after a while. And someone will give him 7 years on July 1st.

        This is not a pro/con argument from me wrt Gardiner, but trying to resolve what exactly this management wants. It just seems to me from that perspective that objecting to giving Edler 3 years instead of 2, then turning around anf giving a Gardiner 7 would defeat that purpose, if that is the purpose.

  • Hockey Bunker

    Sounds like Canucks are calling his bluff. If you like it here so much we’ve got two years for you. His agent is probably telling him he’ll get 25-30 million in free agency. So bet it goes to the week before July 1 and he’ll decide how much staying is worth.

    • liqueur des fenetres

      It does come down to numbers, doesn’t it. Like if Edler was looking for $6M x 3yr it should be easy enough to offer him $8M x 2yr as he’d barely leave any cash on the table and the Canucks wouldn’t need to protect him. It seems likely that his target salary is considerably higher, like $7.5M x 3yr…

  • wojohowitz

    The article suggests Edler with a 3 year contract must be protected in the expansion draft. That doesn`t sound right because no team in the league would want to be forced to protect a 36 year old rather than a younger player.

  • Rodeobill

    Edler has started to look like the steady, good defenseman, team leader, etc. this year with consistency (maybe until the last few games this season.) The problem is, most of his career, he has frustrated fans and coaches alike, because it was always the tale of two Edlers. If he does want to stay here, and we force him into a deal he is resentful of, I wonder which Edler is likely to show up? I would like to believe these guys are professional, and do their best regardless, but lots of people don’t work that way. I would be very careful, and respectful in these negotiations. If a deal can not be reached where both parties are “happy,” then it shouldn’t happen, and so be it.

    • IBT

      Aside from effort level is injuries. Add up the injured games, the disinterested games compared to the high performance games. Has to be a pretty close tie. He is willing to walk without trade protection. Where is his protection then? Are other teams likely to offer no trade or no move clauses? Unlikely. His best scenario is to sign and hope to be taken by Seattle. Then he commutes.

  • Beefus

    Could JB not have a gentleman’s agreement with Edler that if he signs a two-year deal the Canucks will sign him to at least one more contact when he next becomes a UFA?

    As a UFA he would not take up a protected roster spot and could re-sign after the expansion draft. He would in effect get his three year deal and everyone would be happy.

    • Killer Marmot

      Edler’s agent would argue strenuously against a “gentleman’s agreement”. If it’s not on paper, it doesn’t exist. Further, it would only work if Benning is the manager in two years, and that’s not a sure thing.

      • Beefus

        Maybe it could be the owner who makes the agreement. Edler’s agent would prefer it to a two-year deal with no such understanding. I doubt any other team would give him a three-year contract.

    • Bud Poile

      They have been in talks beginning before the season ended.
      There’s term and protection.
      Nothing else of magnitude so it’s pretty simple to draw a conclusion.

      • truthseeker

        Nope. You’re simply speculating and think you know something. You don’t. They could be just amicably waiting to see what offers he gets in FA to determine value. That is even more logical than all the BS floated in this thread so far yet nobody here even began to suggest that idea. Everyone assuming the worst case scenario or all kinds of other ridiculous sh….t that nobody has any real clue about. Sports fandom at it’s worst.

    • copey

      Name them. Seriously.

      Edler is our 1st pairing LHD. He has to get paid something close to that. No one else on the team is close, now that Tanev is too injured to be as effective (and never mind that he couldn’t put points up). Edler deserves $5-6, maybe even $7 million a year based on his *role*.

      Bouwmeester played a lot of minutes, yes, but put up less than half the points Edler did, and St. Louis has lots of other decent options at defense. And he’s 3 years older, and is taking a pay cut for the team, like we would expect Edler to do at that age.

      So name a 1st pairing d-man you can get for 2-3 million who is a veteran.