Canucks under the microscope: Brock Boeser

Can Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser find new happiness on the ice in 2022-23 after a very difficult 2021-22?

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We look back at the 2021-22 Vancouver Canucks with a focus on Brock Boeser. Over the past few weeks and the coming weeks, we’re breaking down the season and looking at how player situations stack up in 2022-23…

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Name: Brock Boeser

Age: 25.

Position: right wing.

Career Statistics: general practitioner: 324; G: 121; a: 135; Points: 256.

Contract status: Needs a new contract. Last season was in the final year of a three-year ‘bridge’ deal with a cap hit of US$5.875 million. Is owed a qualifying offer of US$7.5 million from the Canucks to at least retain its rights as a restricted free agent.

How 2021-22 went: On the ice, so-so. Off ice, as bad as it gets.

As we now know, the likeable Boeser spent the season dealing with the demise of his father, Duke. His father struggled with early-stage dementia caused by Parkinson’s disease and cancer.

Boeser’s emotional toll was heavy. His family has always been close and being largely away from his father, who has always been his biggest fan, has been extremely difficult.

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The Canucks made a few season-end visits to Minnesota, both emotional for Boeser, especially the last game because his father was no longer well enough to attend. Those close to him said it was a blessing that he could be home with his father after the season. Duke died in late May.

Remarkably, Boeser has scored four goals in the last eight games of the season, a reminder of the kind of goalscorer he can be.

In the end, though, he scored just 23 goals in 71 games, the lowest he’s had in an entire season. (He only scored 16 in 2019-20, but that campaign was cut short by the onset of the pandemic.)

Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser with his father, Duke.
Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser with his father, Duke. Photo by Courtesy of Ben Hankinson

His father’s health weighed on him, and there’s reason to believe the impact his struggles had on his bosses’ careers could too. Most hockey players know at the very least that the commitment of their managers and coaches is linked to their own performance on the ice and for Boeser, known as a caring person, can’t have the only bosses he’s ever known on the ice. plank sees walking has been easy.

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In our early twenties, we usually have our first job and find our way in the world. Boeser is only 25 but has already been through a lot.

His camp certainly believes he can have greater offensive influence. In his first two seasons, he seemed destined to score 30 goals, if only he could stay healthy.

For the past two seasons, Boeser’s health has largely held up. He was the Canucks’ most consistent striker in what was a terrible 2020-21 overall for his team, scoring 23 goals in 56 games. That was a pace of 34 goals.

His dip in scoring this season was mostly about a drop in five-on-five finishing. Eleven of his goals this season came on power play, a career high, but against equal strength, he scored just 12 goals, the second lowest total of his career.

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Even as his production deteriorated, he remained a useful two-way player, prone to the occasional mental error, but generally a very neat hockey player with or without the puck.

What the future looks like: He will of course have to go through a lot emotionally.

A contract has to be arranged in the here and now. It is believed that Boeser and his representatives are interested in a two- or three-year deal, although they would also likely sign the one-year qualifier offer the Canucks are likely to do, if only to protect him from leaving the club for nothing. .

By signing a one-year deal, Boeser would get another chance to prove himself, to try and hit the 40 goals he’s dreamed of, earn new bargaining power while also being ready to accept that if he’s not on a performed in a certain way. that matched his salary, he would have to accept a lower salary in a year’s time.

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The Canucks, of course, would love to lock up Boeser for a few seasons on some that better fit their overall salary ceiling structure, one that kept Quinn Hughes, Elias Pettersson, and maybe even JT Miller at the top of the pecking order.

Canucks management also knows that Boeser loves Vancouver. Do they lean on his place preference a role in his negotiations?

The Los Angeles Kings signing Kevin Fiala on Wednesday – they traded for him earlier in the day – provides an interesting point of comparison in Boeser’s negotiations. Fiala is the same age as Boeser and was a similar performer to Boeser in previous seasons, before his breakthrough in 2021-22, where his electric play allowed him to score at a point-per-game pace.

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Fiala signed a seven-year contract worth just under $8 million per season. Boeser’s season will not bring him such a deal. And the general principle is the longer the term, the higher the average annual salary.

Boeser’s one-year qualifying offer wouldn’t be far off from Fiala’s long-term salary. That plays in favor of the Canucks.

Greatest Strength: Shoot. He’s a sniper, ready to fire the puck anywhere.

Biggest Weakness: Foot speed. He always has to play smart and most of the time he does, but if he has a moment where he misses it, it’s hard for him to make up for it.

Is he trading bait? Sure, but the Canucks aren’t the only team wary of its potential cap hit.

The big question: How much does Canucks management believe in him? He’s been a front-line winger for most of this NHL career, but do Patrik Allvin, Jim Rutherford and Bruce Boudreau think so too?

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pjohnston@postmedia.com

twitter.com/risingaction


Read more from our Canucks Under the Microscope series

• Elias Pettersson
• Quinn Hughes
• Oliver Ekman-Larsson
• Bo Horvat
• Tyler Myers
• Luke Schenn
• Kyle Burroughs
• Jack Rathbone
• Tucker Poolman
• JT Miller
• Tanner Pearson
• Travis Dermott
• Thatcher Demko


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