If rumours were true, Brock Boeser would already be playing for another team.
Although the Canucks are 7-2-1 over the last 10 games, the rumour mill continues to churn. Recent reports suggest that both the Washington Capitals and the Los Angeles Kings could be suitors for Boeser’s services.
That puts the trade spotlight firmly on Boeser.
Although speculation continues to grow, the 25-year-old winger remains in Vancouver for now, just over a week before the trade deadline.
Despite constant speculation, is there still room for Boeser as a long-term fit for this organization?
Boeser: “I speak up a lot more this year”
After the Canucks’ overtime loss to the Capitals, Luke Schenn confirmed on Sportsnet 650 that Miller gave a locker room speech in the second intermission with his team down 2-0.
“I gotta give credit to Millsy,” Schenn said. “He stepped up and said, you know, obviously not good enough in the first two periods.”
“Millsy kind of gave it to us a little bit and woke the guys up.”
Shortly thereafter, the Canucks stormed back to take a 3-2 lead before eventually falling in overtime.
Boeser commented on Miller’s leadership during practice on Saturday morning at Scotia Barn in Burnaby.
“He always talks between periods so it’s not surprising,” said Boeser. “We all knew we could play better and I think it’s important when someone steps up and kind of dials us in and you saw us come out in the third and that was a huge point for us.”
When asked by Daily Hive about his leadership role with the team, Boeser mentioned that he believes it’s growing.
“I think I’ve definitely grown. I speak up a lot more this year than I have in past years.”
“When you get comfortable in the room, guys as they get older and get more experience, I think guys start to listen. I try to work as hard as I can in practice too and be a leader that way.”
"I speak up a lot more than I have in past years. As I get older, more experienced, guys start to listen."
🗣 Brock Boeser pic.twitter.com/D1hjYZZTus
— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) March 12, 2022
Although Boeser is still considered a young player, he is the second-longest tenured player on the Canucks now, trailing only Bo Horvat.
How Boeser could remain a Canuck long-term
It seems almost inevitable that one of the Canucks’ top forwards, whether that be Boeser, Miller, or someone like Conor Garland, has to be moved.
Boeser’s name has skyrocketed up trade target charts because teams around the league are aware of the Canucks’ cap situation, coupled with the fact that it makes sense to trade one of their top-six forwards for a top-four defenceman.
However, there are avenues for Boeser to remain in a Canucks uniform.
Instead of trading a top-six forward, the Canucks could try to trim the fat from their salary cap.
The team could also find a way to work around his hefty $7.5 million qualifying offer.
One option is the Canucks could duck the qualifying offer by taking him to arbitration, although that isn’t the most desirable outcome.
Canucks management could also agree to sign Boeser to a long-term deal that sees him make $7.5 million in actual salary next season while simultaneously driving his cap hit south of the $7.5 million mark.
One final factor that could see him stay in Vancouver, is if the Canucks can continue to have success on the ice.
“We keep setting the bar and go into every game thinking that we’re going to win,” said Boeser.
“We’re all bought in and everyone knows how they have to play to contribute to our team each and every night. I think that’s when we play our best hockey.”
The Canucks are currently 21-8-5 under Bruce Boudreau, the fifth-best mark in the NHL since December 5.