In a recent rumors report, Jim Parsons reports that the Sportsnet’s Luke Fox suggests the possibility that the Vancouver Canucks’ Alexander Edler might be willing to waive his no-trade clause. Such a move would allow the Canucks to trade him as a rental to a Stanley Cup contending team for a prospect or a draft choice. Then, during the summer, the Canucks could re-sign him to a new contract.
It’s an interesting scenario that, if it is accurate, might be a win-win for both Edler and the Canucks. He could move to a contending team and take part in a run for the Stanley Cup. Meanwhile, the Canucks could add a young player or two to restock their team.
In addition, it could be a win for a team that “rents” Edler, if he actually becomes a tipping point for that team’s postseason success. As Parsons notes, “this is the type of deal you don’t see often in the NHL but it could be one that would work for both sides in this scenario.”
Why Would Edler Want to Leave Home?
Frankly, I’m surprised such a scenario doesn’t happen more often. From what I hear, Edler really doesn’t want to leave Vancouver. I, for one, completely understand that choice.
Playing with the Canucks has advantages. First, Vancouver is a world-class city. Second, because NHL contracts are paid in US dollars and Edler’s $5 million salary is really $6.65 million CAD. When you’re making $5 million USD per season (or $6.65 million CAD), you ought to be able to live well in Vancouver, or any city, even when people bring up Canadian taxes.
And, by the way, if you’re a family man, those taxes actually provide services your family needs. Third, Edler does indeed have a family: his partner, with whom he has a child, has extended family in the area. Why uproot an entire family?
Four years ago, Edler did an interview where, when asked if Vancouver felt like home, he said “absolutely.” He added, “I really like it here. Obviously, Sweden is home, too, so I get to have two homes. But I feel like I’ve really settled down here and I like this city. I’ve obviously been here for a while now, so yeah, it feels like home.”
Think of it. Edler is now 32 years of age. He has been with the Canucks for his entire 13-year career. He has an established home and family with a partner whose family lives in Vancouver and a young daughter who’s entering school. Perhaps this next contract, at just less than $6 million we hear, will be his last. Say he signs for three years. Then he retires at 35 years old and, perhaps, stays home.
My life experience thinks he’d be crazy to want to leave. Uproot his family for an extra $500,000 or so per year? Vancouver is home. Why be greedy for a “little extra?” Most people don’t make $6.65 million CAD (a single year of Edler’s salary) in a lifetime of work. Any kind of wise investing, cautious as that investing might be, would generate income to last a lifetime. If I were Edler, I wouldn’t want to move either.
I might move for the chance to win a Stanley Cup, but only if I had a deal to return home once that “vacation” was over. If Edler had an understanding that he could come back and wanted a crack at the Cup, he might waive his no-trade clause and accept a trade.
Go play with a team for the last few months of the season. If it’s a really nice place to play and you think your family would like it, sign there. Move your family if they want to go. If not, after the postseason, win or lose, go home to Vancouver and resume the life you’ve carved out for 13 years. It’s completely your choice.
How Edler Might Help Both Himself and the Canucks
If Edler wants to return home to Vancouver for another contract, the Canucks could certainly use a 32-year-old defenseman who’s committed to the team and the city. First, he could mentor the younger defensemen the Canucks will surely bring up. Both Quinn Hughes and Olli Juolevi should be with the Canucks next season.
If you do go someplace else and come to believe Vancouver isn’t the only place to play, sign with the other team. There are obviously many good places to live, and you have the flexibility to make a different choice when you’re an unrestricted free agent.
From my point of view, there’s an acceptable solution to the Canucks’ situation. They could rent Edler to another team for the postseason. They’d gather a prospect or first-round draft pick and sign Edler to a new contract in the summer. It won’t cost the Canucks any more or less to sign him than it would have anyway, and you get a new player or two in the process. Even Edler benefits if he returns because the team should be better.
If you were him, you wouldn’t be “ousted.” Instead, it might be like taking a long vacation and then coming home. [When I was on a university study leave, my family and I went to New Zealand to work for a year: it was great. We came home.]
As Fox noted in his article about Edler, the team is “effusive” about what Edler brings to the team. He plays lots of minutes each game, he’s a plus-three defender on a minus-15 team, he puts his body on the line as a shot-blocker and a hitter, and he “drives the D core,” as Brock Boeser notes.
Both Scenarios Are Good for Edler’s Future
Players like Edler fetch valuable assets if there’s a useful trade to be had. Rumor has it that his teammates hope he gets an extension. However, I am certain his teammates (and friends) would cheer for him if he were in a Stanley Cup race with a different team. And, they’d talk about those experiences over a beer when he returned.
As Bo Horvat says, “Hopefully we get the job done and re-sign him again.” However, that re-signing would happen in the summer. Certainly, a lot could happen between now and then.
The Old Prof (Jim Parsons, Sr.) taught for more than 40 years in the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta. He’s a Canadian boy, who has two degrees from the University of Kentucky and a doctorate from the University of Texas. He is now retired on Vancouver Island, where he lives with his family. His hobbies include playing with his hockey cards and simply being a sports fan – hockey, the Toronto Raptors, and CFL football (thinks Ricky Ray personifies how a professional athlete should act).
If you wonder why he doesn’t use his real name, it’s because his son – who’s also Jim Parsons – wrote for The Hockey Writers first and asked Jim Sr. to use another name so readers wouldn’t confuse their work.
Because Jim Sr. had worked in China, he adopted the Mandarin word for teacher (老師). The first character lǎo (老) means “old,” and the second character shī (師) means “teacher.” The literal translation of lǎoshī is “old teacher.” That became his pen name. Today, other than writing for The Hockey Writers, he teaches graduate students research design at several Canadian universities.
He looks forward to sharing his insights about the Toronto Maple Leafs and about how sports engages life more fully. His Twitter address is https://twitter.com/TheOldProf