Many people expected to see the Vancouver Canucks sitting at the bottom of the Pacific Division this year. Instead, they are fighting for a playoff spot and suddenly the team has to decide whether they intend to be sellers like many anticipated. Of course, it wasn’t like the team had a lot of obvious trade candidates as the team only has one significant player who will be an unrestricted free agent — Alexander Edler, who is finishing up a six-year, $30MM deal he signed in 2013.
However suddenly, the team must decide whether they want to move the veteran defenseman or keep him around to help the team win a few extra games, and according to The Province’s Patrick Johnson, that’s a big dilemma in Vancouver right now. In the end, whether the Canucks move Edler will come down to three factors.
First, Edler must be willing to waive his no-trade clause. If he isn’t there will be no trade. Second, teams must show interest in him, which you assume they would. Finally, does Vancouver really want to trade him. After all, he is the team’s No. 1 defenseman, who plays good defense and plays on both the power play as well as the penalty kill. On top of that, he is a leader and is very good with helping the team’s younger players.
General manager Jim Benning said he will meet with Edler and his agent next week to figure out what Edler is interested in doing.
- With many recent complaints to the play of Nashville Predators’ winger Kevin Fiala, The Athletic’s Adam Vingan (subscription required) writes that while he can understand that fans are frustrated by Fiala’s play, most especially his high rate of turnovers (3.45 giveaways in 60 minutes), he’s only 22 years old, is still learning and is a very creative player. Fiala, who tallied 23 goals last season has just eight so far in 2018-19. Vingan suggests the team hold onto Fiala, rather than sell low on the forward and suggests the team re-sign the soon-to-be restricted free agent to a bridge deal, which could force him to prove his value to the team.
- Ted Wyman of the Winnipeg Sun writes the Winnipeg Jets should get healthier very quickly. Defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, who has been out since Dec. 29 with an ankle injury, is expected to be back soon after the break, while Ben Chiarot, who missed the team’s last three games, is expected to be ready for the team’s next game against Philadelphia. Wyman adds that winger Nikolaj Ehlers, who has been out for a month, is expected to return within a week after their break ends. The additions of Byfuglien and Ehlers should bring a huge boost to the team.
- In a recent mailbag, Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that interim head coach Craig Berube may have a hard time getting his title changed to a permanent position. The scribe writes that just making the playoffs won’t be enough for the team to hand him the coaching reigns. The team would need to go on a real run and show they have momentum, then Berube might be able to keep his job.