At the start of the season, before Canucks fans knew they would be surprised and impressed by the young talent in Vancouver, Jason Brough of The Athletic revealed that veteran players like Brandon Sutter and Alexander Elder could become trade candidates this season. While Sutter would be a tough sell on the trade market with his $4.375-million cap hit through 2020-21 with a full no-trade clause this season, Elder could bring forth a lot of interest and a much better return from rival clubs.
Brough had even hinged that the veteran defenseman would be willing to waive his no-trade clause to accept a move elsewhere. There is a known destination now; the Pittsburgh Penguins, and we wonder now if this is a team Edler would agree to waive his no-trade clause to ended up with the club.
According to the Fourth Period editor in chief David Pagnotta, Edler remains on the radar of several teams out there and the Penguins are amongst teams buzzing around the veteran blue liner. Pagnotta reveals that he will have to make a decision on what to do next later this season.
Edler could be even more convinced to move if he is told that in no certain terms that he wasn’t getting re-signed by the Canucks. The 32-year-old is set to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2019, and the Canucks surely don’t want to lose him for nothing in the summer. They could manage to work out something with Edler, who could simply be looking for another start in the NHL and compete with a Cup contender who might be willing to consider a contract extension after the playoffs.
The Penguins are looking to bolster their blue line, especially since losing Justin Schultz to a long-term injury last week. He will miss the next four months while he recovers from surgery after he suffered a lower-leg fracture during the contest. Schultz, who had four assists through the four games he was able to participate in this season, will be missed and Edler could be exactly what the Penguins need to move forward and ensure they remain a strong contender moving forward.
Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford is known to make major statement trades ahead of the February deadline and this year could be no different.
When Schultz was first sidelined, Rutherford revealed that he did not plan on filling the hole externally, hoping that players like Olli Maatta and Jack Johnson would step up and be difference makers during Schultz’s absence. Schultz has been consistently slotted in as the Penguins’ number-two defenseman behind Kris Letang, and now other players will need to prove they can be trusted in this role.
However, if a move can be done with the Canucks to land Edler, this could turn things around in Pittsburgh and give them the opportunity to use him as a rental, but also look to keep him long-term on the roster.
In nine games this season with Vancouver, Edler has collected five assists and has consistently blocked shots to support his goaltenders in between the pipes. This would be a game-changer in Pittsburgh for star goalie Matt Murray and the rest of the team.