Are Brock Boeser’s days numbered in Vancouver?
It seems if the Canucks can find a taker for his contract, they will be.
Boeser is on pace for just 15 goals this season, which is a far cry from the 30-goal plateau he was eyeing back in training camp. He was very nearly a healthy scratch in December.
Preseason hand surgery didn’t help, of course, and he does have 37 points in 49 games — a respectable total.
But Boeser isn’t providing enough value for the $6.65 million cap hit on his contract. He has two years left on his three-year deal, which was signed last summer.
Will Canucks management be willing to retain salary on a contract they just signed, and what are they willing to take back?
Given seemingly every team in the league is dealing with a salary cap crunch, Boeser’s value has never been lower.
But that doesn’t mean he won’t be moved before the March 3 deadline.
The Canucks are “working hard” to trade Boeser, according to a report from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, who adds that the Calgary Flames “kicked tires” on him. Friedman said he’s heard “mixed messages” with regards to interest in Boeser from the Washington Capitals.
The team that Boeser has been linked to for years is the Minnesota Wild, his hometown team. The problem? The timing couldn’t be worse, from a Minnesota perspective.
The Wild have a combined $14.74 million in dead cap money on the books for the next two seasons, due to the buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.
But that doesn’t mean Boeser’s agent Ben Hankinson, who reportedly has had permission to speak to other teams to facilitate a trade since December, isn’t trying.
The Wild are trying too, according to Hankinson.
“They’re trying to move some things around, potentially,” Hankinson said on The Athletic Hockey Show, before pointing to trade rumours concerning Jordan Greenway ($3 million salary) and Matt Dumba ($6 million).
“There’s a ton at play.”
“[Wild GM Bill Guerin] is always looking at every scenario, whether that’s centre or winger or Brock Boeser specifically,” Hankinson said. “He’s 25 years old. He can score. He’s not scoring at a great rate this year, but he’s putting up a lot of points. But I think he’d be a great fit.
“There’d have to be a lot of salary retained by Vancouver, and I don’t think that’s something they’re too excited to do, because they just signed Brock Boeser. Billy would have to have them eat a big, big chunk of that [contract] to fit him in next year and the year after because that’s when the cap gets really tight for the Wild.”
Boeser is now the Canucks’ longest-tenured player since Bo Horvat was traded. The 25-year-old has never been able to match his rookie goal total (29), nor has he been able to eclipse the 50-point plateau since his first two full NHL seasons in 2017-18 and 2018-19.