Vancouver Canucks: Alex Biega is the next Alex Edler in the Making


Vancouver Canucks defenceman Alex Biega is the Future Alex Edler in the making.

The Vancouver Canucks know what they are looking for in their defensemen. Right now, the Canucks have assembled a defensively sound top-6, one that is keeping Vancouver near the top of the league in Even Strength Goals Against per Game. The Canucks have a solid top pairing, a mobile second pairing, and a third pair in Weber, Sbisa, Biega, and Hutton that makes up nicely for each others’ style of play. But what really excites us Canucks fans is the youth that is coming up the pipeline.

As a Canucks fan, this is a true long-time-coming. Hutton now leads all Canucks defensemen in scoring with 8 assists, which is two more points than Alex Edler. We owe big thanks to Jim Benning for staying true to his promise that he will have eight, nine NHL-ready defensemen. Benning has pulled a time-lapse on the defense pipeline. The Vancouver Canucks had nothing going in the back-end, and not for the foreseeable future. Then Benning made the trades: the Forsling trade, the Fedun acquisition, and the Pedan acquisition. Now the Canucks are pushing their NHL vets with names like Hutton and Biega.

Ben Hutton turned heads early, a star out of NCAA Maine. But Hutton’s play is shadowing another great Vancouver Canuck prospect. Despite all the craze over the play of Ben Hutton, the Vancouver Canucks should not overlook the true gem they have in Alex Biega.

The Bulldog

Alex “Bulldog” Biega, the 5’11”, 200lbs Montreal native has quietly made his mark on the NHL squad. It surprising to see him listed at 5’11” – his physical play is that of a 6’1″ or a 6’2″, not with a Sbisa-like edge, but with an Edler-like firmness. His mobility and puck distribution is not dazzling, but that of a sure-handed Tanev. The Utica Comet captain’s overall play reminds me of Edler’s – the good puck distribution and a strong shot – and of Bieksa’s – the heart, the physicality.

As for the production, Alex Biega has been a consistent producer at the AHL level. In 62 games with the Utica Comets, Biega had 3 goals and 19 points for the Vancouver Canucks AHL affiliate. In 7 games last year for the Vancouver Canucks, he scored on a blast of a shot, which turned out to be the game winner versus the Minnesota Wild.

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Biega should have an easy time making the NHL-squad full-time next year. After all, Jim Benning had drafted Biega himself, while he was the Head of the Scouting Department in Buffalo. Some 9 years removed from the draft, the circle is now complete. Benning must have remembered what he saw in Biega, during his scouting days, when he signed the 27-year-old defenseman to a one-year, two-way deal with 600K on the first day of free agency. Why else would you sign a 27-year-old to an AHL contract?

Jim Benning has to be thinking about giving Alex Biega a new contract and a raise. Biega will look to be a full-time NHL defenseman now, as his career hits its prime as a 27-year-old. There is no reason why the Vancouver Canucks should not keep him around.

When it is all said and done, Yannick Weber and his $1.5M contract needs to be replaced by Biega’s next year, at a bit cheaper cost than what Weber’s (both are Unrestricted Free Agents after this season). Let’s face it. Biega has all the physicality to offer that Weber cannot. Weber’s production is falling off the cliff, no longer the Power Play specialist we prided in, but Biega still has the shot.

Next: Canucks Prospects Watch: Demko and the Three Stars of October

It is time Benning made use of his new-found gem in Alex Biega. The Vancouver Canucks may have found their next Alex Edler.