Canucks' Edler 'without issues'

HOSEA CHEUNG, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:39 PM ET

Alex Edler, unlike teammate Sami Salo, should be healthy come training camp.

After taking a hit from Chicago's Dustin Byfuglien and leaving Game 6 of the second round with an ankle injury, the Canucks defenceman was in a cast for five weeks and on crutches for another three, keeping him off ice for almost half the summer.

"After that it's been feeling good," said Edler this week. "I’ve been real careful with running and jumping and things like that during the summer. But there hasn’t been any issues, I don't feel like I'm behind in any way."

The Swede, who had five goals and 42 points last season, said the delay in his offseason training was not a big concern as he does most of his skating towards the end of the summer.

But rebounding from injury isn't the biggest question mark surrounding the 24-year-old heading into the season. With the acquisition of Dan Hamhuis and Keith Ballard the numbers in the Canucks blueline have piled up.

The new additions look to form Vancouver's top defensive pairing, while last season's top-scoring defenceman, Christian Ehrhoff, should have a top-four spot locked down as well. Wit Salo currently on the IR, that leaves Edler, Kevin Bieksa – who's name continues to circle on the rumour mill –, Shane O'Brien and Aaron Rome to fill out the four to seven spots. However, when the Finn returns from his torn Achilles tendon, will Edler be relegated to third pair duty?

Having the Ostersund native play a supporting role speaks of the depth on the team's D unit, one which struggled severely during the playoffs.

And while injuries and pair juggling are inevitable, his role will undoubtedly vary throughout the season depending on which Edler shows up for the 2010-11 campaign.

Will it be the one that came out on a mission throwing six bone-crushing hits in Game 1 against the L.A. Kings, or the reserved, non-impact player seen too many times throughout the year?

Needless to say, an improved and motivated Edler will only benefit a defensive corp already touted, on paper, as one of the best in the NHL.


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