With two weeks to go before the NHL trade deadline, it appears Brock Boeser has surpassed J.T. Miller as the Vancouver Canucks player most often mentioned in trade rumours.
It seems Canucks management hasn’t been overly enamoured with offers for J.T. Miller, which can perhaps explain why Boeser has overtaken him in trade chatter among NHL insiders. The Miller rumours haven’t gone away completely, with reports that Laurence Gilman was scouting the Canucks’ leading scorer surfacing last week. But there does appear to be a shift to Boeser.
“I believe that Brock Boeser… there’s a pretty good chance that he gets traded,” said hockey insider Frank Seravalli on the DFO Rundown.
Seravalli said the New Jersey Devils are a team that’s been interested in Boeser, but he figured a lot of non-playoff teams would also have interest in the 25-year-old winger.
“I think Brock Boeser is in the 50/50 range [to be traded], maybe more than that,” Seravalli said, adding that a deal could wait until the offseason.
Servalli’s former employer, TSN, has Boeser ranked highest on its trade bait board among Canucks players, one spot ahead of Conor Garland, and three spots ahead of Miller.
Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet said on the 32 Thoughts podcast that he’s had some people say that Boeser would be moved, while others disagreed.
“I’ve had some people say to me they think it’s likely going to be Boeser that gets moved. But I had some other people say to me ‘Don’t go with that. Don’t do that,'” Friedman said.
The Canucks are believed to be in the market for a young defenceman.
Nils Lundkvist, a right-shot blueliner the New York Rangers picked in the first round of the 2018 draft, was one name Friedman has heard. The 21-year-old Swede has 11 points in 20 AHL games this season with the Hartford Wolf Pack, to go with four points in 25 NHL games with the Rangers.
Another player Friedman brought up was Bowen Byram, the former Vancouver Giants star defenceman that the Colorado Avalanche picked fourth overall in 2019.
“I’m not convinced that Colorado is doing that,” said Friedman. “But I think that Rutherford wants a young defenceman that he thinks he can build around with Quinn Hughes.”
Like Hughes, Byram is a left-shot defenceman. The 20-year-old has huge potential and has 11 points in 18 games with Colorado so far this season.
Boeser is having the worst season of his NHL career, in terms of points per game (0.65), with 33 points (16-17-33) in 51 games. He hasn’t been able to match the production from his outstanding rookie season (0.89 points per game), though he did come close last season, with 0.88 points per game.
Complicating matters with Boeser is his contract. Instead of inking a long term deal with the Canucks in 2019, former GM Jim Benning inked him to a bridge deal. That kept his cap hit low at $5.875 million, but the total value of his salary in the final year of his deal is $7.5 million.
Boeser’s qualifying offer this offseason needs to be $7.5M because of that, which is a hefty price to pay for his current production.
Still, if Boeser gets moved, it could be a tough one for the fanbase to accept. Boeser is a fan favourite, who people in Vancouver have watched develop throughout his career. He’s also a player that fans grew to love for how he comported himself off the ice.