Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reports that the Los Angeles Kings have shored up their defense today, signing veteran defenseman Alexander Edler. The deal is for one year, per Pierre LeBrun, and carries a cap hit of $3.5MM.
Edler, 35, is joining just the second NHL team of his career after spending 925 games and parts of 15 seasons with the Vancouver Canucks. Once a star two-way defender who could log more than 24 minutes a night against the other team’s best, racking up 30-point season after 30-point season, it’s obvious that Edler is no longer going to change the look of a defensive group. Instead, he should be able to provide some experienced depth to a unit in Los Angeles that doesn’t have much of it.
Take out Drew Doughty and you have a defense corps for the Kings where 26-year-old Olli Maatta is the grizzled veteran, he of 468 NHL games. The others are either young or inexperienced (or both), meaning Edler should be an important member this season if they have their sights set on a playoff spot. While $3.5MM might be a little pricey for the player he is now, a one-year deal offers almost no risk for the Kings, unless you consider the opportunity cost of the roster spot. There will still be plenty of minutes for the young guns though, and if the team falls out of the race, Edler makes a nice deadline chip to flip for a mid-round pick.