As Alex Edler approaches 1,000 games, his younger teammates praise his impact on their games

When Alex Edler’s career eventually comes to an end, and is measured on a grander scale, we’ll likely have a lot of focus on his time with the Vancouver Canucks.

And rightfully so. Edler played 925 games with the Canucks, more than any other defenseman in franchise history and more than all but three players at any position. He has more goals, assists and points than any other Vancouver blueliner and he spent the bulk of his career with that organization. What might not be measured in national media, with no metric that can truly define it, is the impact he’s made on several of his teammates during his time with the LA Kings.

It’s not necessarily something you can put into a statistic, but Edler has been the ultimate leader by example over his two years with the organization. As the Kings have brought several younger defensemen through the ranks, Edler has been the steady and reliable presence they can all lean on. Ranging from Durzi to Clarke to Moverare to Bjornfot to Spence, those who debuted with the Kings over the last two seasons naturally have several role models on which to lean when in need. For many, steady Eddy is as good as they come.

“The minute he walks into the room, it’s professional all the way through,” Kings Head Coach Todd McLellan said this morning. “Spence, Moverare and Bjornfot, forwards too but the backend in particular, you’ve got to absorb everything that this guy does and find a way to fit it into your toolkit.”

There’s nothing in particular that Edler tries to instill in his younger teammates, but he’s always available should there be a question coming from any of his teammates. Whether it’s through his practice habits, his play during games, the way he carries himself away from the ice, or just his calming presence in the locker room, younger defensemen coming through the ranks have looked to Edler for guidance. As he sits one game shy of 1,000, they weren’t shy about laying the praise on him.

Tobias Bjornfot – He’s been great for me and my girlfriend, his family has been really kind to us. As a teammate he’s great, helping me and all of the other d-men on and off the ice, tips and tricks that you don’t notice when you’re young.

Brandt Clarke – He’s been such a big help and he’s been a huge veteran, huge, a lot of wisdom comes out of him. So when he talks for sure I take it all in and I’m really happy that he’s so open and given me all of his advice,

Sean Durzi – What he brings, on and off the ice, that calming, veteran presence, he just shows me how it’s done, how he’s been able to play for such a long time. Edds has done so much for me, on the ice, off the ice, what to do to be a true professional, how to act and how to be a good teammate.

Jacob Moverare – He helps me on the ice when I’ve been up with the Kings and he’s been behind me and during the drills, he’ll give me a few pointers that I’ve been really trying to trying to implement into my game. I feel like when he talks, you listen. He’s just been so good and so helpful.

Jordan Spence – It’s just what he does on and off the ice. Off the ice, he’s a leader. Even though he doesn’t have a letter, he leads by example off the ice and he does it as well on the ice by just being sound defensively and making good plays.

Photo by Juan Ocampo/NHLI via Getty Images

For the younger Swedish players, the relationship was perhaps that much greater. Several around the room have called him the “Swedish Godfather” for everything he’s done for some of the younger European players in the organization.

For Moverare, the treat was extra special. The two are from the same hometown back in Sweden – Ostersund.

Moverare recalled meeting Edler back when he was just a kid and Edler was that guy from his smalltown of less than 50,000 people who reached the NHL. Moverare recalled that meeting greatly to this day.

“He’s been through it all basically, and he’s been really helpful for all the Swedes, not even just the d-men, so nice and always looking after us,” he added. “We’re from the same town in Sweden, so I heard about him really early on, when I was really little, so I’ve been following him and looking up to how he’s doing for a lot of years.”

Even on those who have been in the NHL longer than just Edler’s time with the Kings, he is a player who his teammates take note of.

Mikey Anderson – He’s someone you want to cling to right away and learn from. I’m lucky I get to sit by him in the room and hear everything on a day-to-day basis, try to learn from him and mimic some of the stuff he does.

Drew Doughty – He just brings a veteran calmness. We have a ton of Swedes and he’s like the godfather to them. He’s so calm, he plays with poise out there and I think that filters through the whole team when you watch him.

Matt Roy – He’s a veteran, he’s a competitor and he’s great at what he does, he’s a simple and solid defender who seems to make the right play all the time. He can be vocal on the ice and that helps us.

Sean Walker – There isn’t a day that Edds takes off. Even if he’s not feeling great, he’s still going to battle you hard in the corners. He’s definitely a leader by example. He does his job and makes sure that everybody else is on top of theirs as well.

When you’ve got nine defensemen within the organization willing to praise your abilities, ranging from a Norris Trophy winner to a player who still hasn’t activated the first year of his entry level contract, you must be doing something right. Alex Edler has certainly done a lot of things right.

More to come from Edler himself in tomorrow’s game preview, with lots more to follow from his post-game interview. Edler gave a few good bits when we chatted earlier today, but he preferred to save the bulk of the conversation for when he’s actually reached the milestone. Can’t blame him there, and assuming all goes according to plan, that is expected to come tomorrow afternoon against the Flyers, with a formal ceremony to follow in the coming days. A special time for a player who has given quite a bit to the NHL.

Photo by Devin Manky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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