Statistically, that may all change for Vancouver if newly-signed Jason Garrison (who himself accounted for 53% of the Panthers' goals by a defenceman – the highest proportion in the league) can match his 16-goal output from last season. And while Edler's play in the post-season left many wondering how he ever got voted best defenceman by Canucks fans, the reality is, when he's at his best, the big Swede could be just a few years out of a Norris nomination. All things considered, however, Vancouver remains a balanced force on the blueline with no individual head-and-shoulders above the rest. Garrison and Edler will share their equal portion of the load with Bieksa and Hamhuis, not to mention the ever-enigmatic Keith Ballard and the ever-improving Chris Tanev representing the blueline's potentially high-reward wild cards.
No one's saying that a player like Weber wouldn't put Vancouver over the top, cause that could very well be the case. But Canucks fans would be wise to appreciate the group of guys we do have, 'cause collectively, they're among the league's very best. So in salute of Vancouver's standout rearguards, here are the Top Five¹ of the group's 40 total goals from last season:
¹ Technically 4 of the Canucks defencemen's 40 goals, as Edler's shootout goal does not count towards official statistics. Bonus fact: Edler had four shootout goals to lead all league defencemen.
*See the online discussion regarding this article on the Canucks.com forums here.