Heading into the 2018-19 NHL season you’d be hard pressed to find two teams more diametrically opposed than the Vancouver Canucks and Tampa Bay Lightning. After advancing to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final against the eventual Stanley Cup winning Washington Capitals, the Lightning are looking to take the next step and finally deliver a Cup to Tampa in the Steven Stamkos Era. As for the Canucks… well at least they have super rookie Elias Pettersson. All kidding aside, with young players like Pettersson, sniper Brock Boeser and pivot Bo Horvat cementing themselves as future star players, the future looks bright in Vancouver. Unfortunately for the team and its fanbase, it’ll likely take a few years for them to get back to contender status. The Lightning are firmly in “win now mode.”
If the chips fall as expected, the Lightning will be trade deadline buyers, while the Canucks will be sellers. NHL insider and Sportsnet reporter Elliotte Friedman sees a match between the two sides, especially when it comes to veteran defensemen Alexander Edler. Check out this little tidbit from Friedman’s latest 31 Thoughts column for Sportsnet:
Alexander Edler is playing 25:19 a game, 12th in the NHL. This is someone who does not want to leave Vancouver. He’s made that very clear. His contract is up after the season, and Tampa was interested a year ago. Someone’s going to want him as a rental, even if he returns to British Columbia next year.
Interesting. If Friedman’s report is to be believed, Edler would be a pure rental for the Lightning or any other team interested in acquiring him at the deadline. It’s very possible that if Edler is traded, he’ll eventually end up back with the Canucks. Remember last year’s trade that saw longtime Montreal Canadiens veteran Tomas Plekanec head to the Toronto Maple Leafs? Well, don’t look now but he’s a Montreal Canadien once again.
For what it’s worth, Edler is absolutely a top pairing blue liner in Vancouver, but would likely drop to the second or even third pairing with the Lightning. He’s not replacing Victor Hedman anytime soon, but Edler could slot in alongside Hedman quite nicely. He could also look good on a pairing with Ryan McDonagh or a youngster like Mikhail Sergachev.
Having said all of that, the loss of Edler would decimate the Canucks’ blue line. Again, any move away from Vancouver would likely be contingent on him signing a deal with the club in the following offseason. Likely? Maybe not, but it certainly makes a lot of sense on paper.