by PuckStopsHere on 06/21/14 at 03:01 PM ET
Yesterday I posted the worst 20 players in the 2013/14 season by adjusted +/-. Leading this list was Alexander Edler of the Vancouver Canucks. He posted a -35.4 rating. This was further from the zero point than Matt Niskanen who led the league with +30.8. That is a remarkable and rare achievement. Usually struggling players who have poor puck possession do not get enough ice time to lead the league by as big a margin as successful players who will get lost of ice time.
Edler has been a solid member of the Vancouver Canuck defence since he arrived in 2007. He made the NHL All Star Game in 2012. While that is quite an achievement, he was a weaker choice for the All Star team.
Things really fell apart in 2013/14. Edler was limited to 22 points. This was his lowest total since his rookie year. He struggled defensively. He seemed lost at times. I think he was significantly affected by a knee injury that he never fully recovered from. However this season is not representative of what should be expected from Edler. His 938 PDO was the worst in the NHL. He was very unlucky throughout the season.
This is a problem with using +/- ratings to measure puck possession. It is significantly affected by shooting and saves percentages while a player is on the ice. An individual player has little ability to affect these things. It is mostly luck. That is why Corsi is a better starting point. There are many more events measured and hence less uncertainty due to small sample sizes.
As for Alex Edler, Vancouver is smart to hold on to him. Trading him now when his value is lowest isn't smart. Trade him when his value peaks, not at its low point. Buy low and sell high. He has shown the ability to be a useful defenceman in the past. 2013/14 he struggled and struggled significantly. Most likely things will get better in the near future.
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