On-ice sessions at Vancouver Canucks training camp began in Victoria this morning without one of the team’s best players.
Brock Boeser, still without a contract, is keeping in shape with his old college team in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and the pressure is ramping up for the Canucks to sign the 22-year-old star.
So far both sides are saying all the right things. Canucks GM Jim Benning didn’t get into specifics when quizzed about negotiations on Thursday, saying simply that he was going to continue to talk to Boeser’s agent.
But one nugget of information appears to have leaked from contract talks.
Boeser turned down a six-year contract worth $42 million earlier this summer, according to a new report from TSN 1040’s Matt Sekeres.
My understanding is that the #Canucks offered Brock Boeser a six-year deal worth $42M ($7M AAV) around the draft and were turned down.
That might explain the stalemate today because now the agent *has* to do better for his client, & the Canucks have spent cap space on UFAs.
— Matthew Sekeres (@mattsekeres) September 12, 2019
The rejected contract offer would carry a $7 million cap hit, which is close to the maximum the Canucks are able to offer Boeser given their current cap crunch.
This could be the first sign that a long term deal may not be in the cards for Boeser. The longer the deal, the higher the cap hit is expected to be, given the team would be buying unrestricted free agent years beyond a five-year term.
Of course, this could all change depending on who blinks first.
While the Canucks technically have leverage — Boeser doesn’t have many options as a restricted free agent — Benning can ill-afford a slow start to the season that’s otherwise full of optimism.
The Canucks’ first preseason game is on Monday, with the puck drops on the regular season October 2.