Nov 15, 2011, 1:40 PM EST
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).
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.
- NHL on NBC: Rangers look for a fourth straight win against the Flyers 5
- Ducks score four third-period goals, come back to beat rival Kings 8
- Blackhawks aren’t done talking trades, will look to add another forward 13
- Flyers trade Kimmo Timonen to Blackhawks 32
- Video: Couture fined $5K for slew-footing Smith 22
- Time to start winning — Bruins’ next four games are against non-playoff teams 17
- Burgled: Sens’ Hammond shuts out Kings 14
- Wild get important win vs. Preds (and some luck, too) 41
- Trading baggage: Blue Jackets grab Clarkson, send Horton’s contract to Leafs 66
- Panthers acquire Jagr from Devils 29
- Petrovic: Chicago will ‘probably seek revenge’ for Kane injury tonight (82)
- Report: Alex Petrovic avoids discipline after injuring Patrick Kane (69)
- Trading baggage: Blue Jackets grab Clarkson, send Horton’s contract to Leafs (66)
- Lindros files $3M defamation lawsuit against ex-referee Stewart (Updated: Now $250K) (65)
- The plummeting Coyotes are threatening to fall below the Oilers into 29th place (55)