Was Alex Edler’s departure a red flag for the Canucks? – .

Was Alex Edler’s departure a red flag for the Canucks? – .

After years of saying he wanted to be a career Canuck, Edler was only too happy to leave the team in the offseason, which perhaps should have been a sign.

On Monday night, Alex Edler will play his very first game against the Vancouver Canucks.

It would have been a good time for Edler to get his 100th career goal – he was stuck at 99 all last season – but instead he hit the centennial mark against another former Canuck, Jacob Markstrom.

Edler’s Los Angeles Kings took on the Markstrom Calgary Flames on Thursday night when Edler jumped onto the ice, passed and snatched a wrist shot just under Markstrom’s glove. The goal brought the Kings to one goal, but Markstrom held the line the rest of the game for the one-goal win.

For Canucks fans, it’s a bittersweet moment. It’s wonderful to see Edler so happy after the goal, with a huge smile as he is kissed by his teammates, but it’s a shame that couldn’t have happened in Vancouver.

Or rather, it’s a shame Edler couldn’t score his 100th career goal in Vancouver as Canuck.

After 15 seasons with the Canucks, where he set all kinds of franchise records, Edler left the Canucks as a free agent, choosing instead to sign a one-year contract with the Kings. He’s been a consistent contributor to the Kings, scoring 10 points in 22 games, scoring 56.44% 5-5 and a key role in the team’s penalty kill.

Is Edler missing at the Canucks? Without doubt, yes. Edler has played a thankless role for the Canucks as a stopping defenseman for the past few years and he was still effective even though he lost a bit of mobility. On top of that, Elder Edler was a mentor to several of the young Canucks.

“He’s a leader,” said Elias Pettersson in his rookie season. “At the start of the season, especially when I was new, everything was new to me, he and the other Swedes helped me a lot, just to be comfortable with this group and teach me little things… c he is a very good person. “

The Canucks look like a team that needs some veteran leadership this season and they’ve let a lot of that leadership fade over the past two seasons, not just Edler, but Markstrom and Chris Tanev as well.

At the same time, Edler is 35 and has struggled to stay healthy in recent years. It’s understandable that the Canucks are willing to let the older statesman go and move on to a younger group.

It just wasn’t the Canucks’ call to leave Edler; it was Edler’s decision to leave the Canucks.

“We told him we wanted him to come back. “

In the last offseason, Canucks general manager Jim Benning offered Edler a contract before free will began.

“We made him an offer, he’s not unhappy with the offer, but he wants to take his time,” Benning said, adding that Edler was taking a risk. “We told him we wanted him to come back [but] we’re also going to have to go to the market.

Edler did not accept the offer and went in free agency for the first time in his career.

Did Edler see any issues others missed in the Canucks’ organization? Did he see the writing on the wall, that this team was heading in the wrong direction that he had to leave? Should he have been the canary in the coal mine that Edler, the lifelong Canuck, had no qualms about leaving the Canucks this offseason?

After all, it wasn’t that long ago that Edler was adamant that he wanted to remain a Canuck for his entire career. For years Edler has said he loves Vancouver and never wants to leave. He refused to give up his no-trade clause in 2019 when he was approached by Benning because he wanted to stay.

“I like it here. Hope I will stay here.

In 2018, when the Canucks were rebuilding and repeatedly missing the playoffs, Edler had no desire to leave.

“It means a lot to me that I’ve been here my entire career. I like it here. Hope I will stay here, ”Edler told The Athletic.

When asked if he hopes to spend his entire career in Vancouver, Edler didn’t hesitate.

“Of course,” he said. “I love the city, the organization has done me good. We’re going through a kind of rebuilding, so it’s fun to be a part of it.

It is also the key. Edler had no problem being part of the rebuild. In fact, he relished the leadership role that took him over.

“We had good years when we went to the final and now we are in a rebuilding phase,” he said. “But I think it’s fun to be a part of it. There are young people arriving. You try to frame them. We have a lot of young people in the system who have a lot of potential. I can’t wait to know when we can compete for a playoff berth, and when you get to the playoffs you never know.

Edler became deeply rooted in Vancouver after moving to the city in 2006. Edler met his wife in Vancouver and his two daughters grew up in Vancouver. It was and is his home. Leaving couldn’t have been an easy decision.

But maybe it was made easier with the departure of his good friends Tanev and Markstrom in a less than ideal way the previous offseason. Then there was the terrible 2020-21 season, where not only did the Canucks take a huge step back from their 2020 playoff run, but Edler also failed to play in front of the fans he did. repeatedly said he loved it so much.

So, when asked to re-sign in Vancouver last season, Edler was a bit more circumspect than in previous years, reiterating his love for the city and the fans, but making no promises of wanting to return.

“We’ll see what happens here,” he said. “I’ve been here my whole career. I have had the chance to play here my entire career. I always said I like it here. Great place to live and play. Big fans.

Los Angeles Kings engaged in rebuilding

After 15 seasons with the same team, a team he wanted to play with his entire career, Edler was ready to leave Vancouver and explore the uncertainty of free agency for the first time. And he’s not chasing a Stanley Cup: he signed with the Kings, one of the few teams to finish last season with a worse record than the Canucks.

But the Kings have a lot of young talent who need mentorship. They are a growing team, seen as going in the right direction, with the biggest pool of prospects in the NHL.

The Kings are a team that has embarked on a rebuild in the midst of a poor 2018-19 season despite the previous year’s playoffs. They are committed to acquiring top picks in the draft, selecting 14 players in the first three rounds of the draft over the past three years. They look like a team on the verge of coming out of their rebuild potentially this season, but certainly in the seasons to follow.

Did the Kings seem like a more attractive destination than the Canucks for this reason?

“The decision was mine. “

The Canucks fully believed ahead of the season that they were a playoff team – the organization would have been shocked by their terrible departure – but perhaps Edler did not share that belief.

People change, of course. It’s entirely possible that Edler is getting older a bit and is thinking about his career, he just wants to try something new and take on a new challenge. While it’s a pretty big course correction to go from wanting to spend your entire career with one team to jumping ship for a division rival, maybe it was just that longing for a new experience: something different, interesting and fun.

“Maybe last year could have helped that part too – I just didn’t feel like I was having that much fun,” Edler said recently. “It was a different year, with no fans and COVID. It was more my decision, my family’s decision, that we wanted to try something new.

“I don’t have bad feelings towards Vancouver,” added Edler. “I had so many good years there. I have so much to thank them for. I understand, there is always a commercial side to hockey. It depends on what situation the team is in and… what you can offer the players and their roles, things like that. But the decision was mine. I just felt it was time, I think, for me and my family to try something new. Me, personally as a hockey player, I think I needed something new.

There was obviously nothing new in Vancouver. Just more of the same.


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