The Vancouver Canucks are talking to their longest-tenured player about his plans as the trade deadline gets closer.
Canucks general manager Jim Benning confirmed Friday that conversations between the team and defenseman Alexander Edler are ongoing.
“We’re in dialogue with his agent, Mark Stowe, and with Alex,” Benning told TSN 1040. “We’re talking to them about what his intentions are (and) what he wants to do going forward.”
Edler is a pending unrestricted free agent on a deal that carries a $5-million cap hit. The 32-year-old has spent his entire 13-year career with the Canucks, and he wants to stick around, according to Benning.
“He’s made it clear to us and to everybody that he’d like to stay in Vancouver,” the GM said. “Last year, I thought he was real good for us and he’s having another good year this year, so we’re going to continue to talk to them (to) see if we can figure something out.”
Benning added that the club has made it clear to Edler that they want to keep him. The GM then outlined the reasons why he values Edler.
“He’s our best defenseman, he’s a leader in our room, he’s a mentor to (rookie star Elias Pettersson),” Benning said. “He’s a guy that sets the culture for our young players, kind of taking over from where (Daniel and Henrik Sedin) were, so he’s an important guy for the development of our young players. If we can get something figured out with him, I’d like to try to do it.”
Edler would become a UFA on July 1 if he’s unsigned, but Benning said it wouldn’t be “the end of the world” if the situation isn’t resolved before the Feb. 25 deadline or the opening of free agency.
The veteran rearguard ranks seventh on the Canucks’ all-time games played list, and ninth on the team’s career assists list.
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