Alex Edler

For Edler, the “best is yet to come”


When the Buffalo Sabres threw $40 million at Christian Ehrhoff on July 1, the Vancouver Canucks were loath to admit they’d miss the puck-moving, offensive defenseman.

“I don’t think we lost anything,” Henrik Sedin said rather bluntly. “He was in a spot where we have other guys who can step up and play in that role. Alex (Edler) is going to get more responsibility.”

But when Vancouver stumbled out of the gate, many wondered if Sedin had been dead wrong. The Canucks were shut out three times in their first 10 games and were having a hard time transitioning out of their own end.

It was only temporary though. Vancouver’s offense has since recovered, no small thanks to Edler and the rest of the back end.

After 18 games, Edler sits tied for first among NHL defenseman with 16 points (3G, 13A).

Meanwhile, Sami Salo (4G, 6A) and Dan Hamhuis (2G, 7A) are putting up good numbers of their own.

Even Aaron Rome has three goals, and he’s only played four games.

“I think I said before the season began that, yes, we lose Ehrhoff, but I always thought we have a lot of other guys who can step up,” Sedin told the Vancouver Province yesterday.

Since earning a permanent spot in the lineup in 2007-08, Edler, 25, has shown glimpses of becoming the kind of elite two-way defensemen the Canucks have never had. However, those glimpses were typically followed by stretches where he seemed to forget how to play hockey altogether.

Canucks associate coach Rick Bowness continues to preach patience from fans and media.

“He’s still a young man,” Bowness said. “The best is still years ahead of him. Not days or weeks, but years.

“He had to work on his intensity and his focus, things every young player has to work on. He’s constantly addressing it and the best is yet to come.”

Edler is signed through next season, after which he’s set to become an unrestricted free agent.

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?