The Vancouver Canucks may not be parting ways with Alexander Edler after all. Several reports including Rick Dhaliwal of Sportsnet have surfaced today that the two sides are making positive progress on a new deal, and Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reports that the biggest hurdle has been resolved. That would be Edler’s availability for the upcoming expansion draft, something that was a major sticking point in early talks. The Canucks previously had not wanted to give Edler a no-movement clause that would make him automatically protected in the draft, through Friedman doesn’t go into detail on how the two sides have resolved the problem.
Edler, 33, is coming off a six-year, $30MM deal with the Canucks and is still arguably their most important defenseman. While that may change soon with the emergence of Quinn Hughes, losing him would create a huge 24-minute-a-night hole on their blue line. Even in a season limited by injury Edler still managed to record 34 points in 56 games and would be a top option on the free agent market if left unsigned.
- The Toronto Maple Leafs won’t be bringing back either of their assistant coaches this season, as Friedman tweets that Jim Hiller is heading to re-join Lou Lamoriello with the New York Islanders. The team had already watched D.J. Smith take the head coaching position with the Ottawa Senators, meaning Mike Babcock will need to find a few new faces to join him behind the bench in 2019-20. Hiller ran the Maple Leafs’ powerplay which despite ranking eighth in the entire league at 21.8%, was still seen as a relative disappointment given the talent they had to offer. Still, he’s a very experienced coach that joins another excellent staff under Barry Trotz in New York.
- Though Mikhail Grabovski hasn’t suited up for a professional game since the 2015-16 season, only today did he officially announce his retirement. The 35-year old was forced out of the game due to concussion issues, but was actually still under contract through the 2017-18 season. In fact, Grabovski will still earn a paycheck for the next two years from a 2013 buyout at the hands of the Maple Leafs. In 534 career games, the shifty center recorded 296 points playing for the Maple Leafs, Islanders, Montreal Canadiens and Washington Capitals.