The Vancouver Canucks must make decisions on three key players whose contracts expire in the next 12 months.
JT Miller, Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser are all among the best players on the team and will be looking to sign expensive long-term deals. Of these three players, Boeser is perhaps the most difficult for the Canucks to assess, due to his injury history and potential as a scorer.
Drafted late in the first round of the famous 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Boeser has been wowing Canucks fans with his pinpoint shooting since stepping onto the ice. However, he hasn’t made much positive progress in his NHL career so far, which leaves fans wondering if he’ll ever take the next step.
Boeser has excellent rough tools. When healthy, his shot is elite as he can take turns with relative ease. On the other hand, his skating is not elite and his slow foot speed can be exposed at times. Boeser signed a three-year, $17.625 million deal in 2019. The deal was supposed to act as a bridging deal that would allow both sides to renegotiate when there was a bigger sample to rate the winger.
However, after suffering multiple injuries that would keep him off the ice and at times affect his performance on his return, it remains unclear if Boeser will take a step closer to a 30-goal scorer. He also had to deal with a difficult family situation in recent seasons as his father’s health declined. Duke Boeser was a Vancouver favorite who tragically died of cancer recently at the age of 61.
All of this makes it difficult to assess the value of Boeser’s next contract, as well as how long he will be given. He has a $7.5 million qualifying offer this offseason that would be a tough pill for the Canucks to swallow. However, it seems likely that both parties will work towards a long-term solution at a cheaper price as it has benefits for both the team and the player.
Three comparables for Brock Boeser
Here are three players comparable to the current situation in which Brock Boeser finds himself.
Ondrej Palat – $5.3 million AAV for 5 years
When Ondrej Palat signed his last contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning, he already had four seasons with at least 0.64 points per game. Boeser has done it five times but is coming off the worst season of his career in what was a worrying setback.
The different tax situations in Florida and Vancouver mean the two players’ take-home pay would be dramatically different, even with the same cap hit. Thus, Boeser would be looking for more than Palat got, especially given his better goalscoring numbers and top-notch skills.
Johnny Gaudreau – $6.75 million AAV over 6 years
While Gaudreau has just had one of the best seasons of his career and is one of the best wingers in the league, when he signed this agreement, it was far from a certainty. However, he was coming off nearly a point per game in what was only his second full NHL season.
Gaudreau had more potential than Boeser at this point, but Boeser has a longer resume. Although this year has been disappointing, Boeser has scored at a rate of 30 goals on several occasions in the past. It’s not hard to imagine him stepping forward with a little more consistency in the situation around him.
Jake Guentzel – $6 million 5-year AAV
Jake Guentzel signed the extension midway through a season in which he would score 40 goals, far more than Boeser has ever scored. Guentzel was coming out of his ELC instead of a bridge deal like Boeser, but he’s comparable to a winger with similar enough scoring stats.
Guentzel’s contract looks great now that he’s scored 40 multiple times, but the Penguins couldn’t have known that when they signed the deal. If Boeser can take a similar action, his contact may turn out to be a similar theft.
Our contractual projection
Considering the money those other players got, we think it’s likely the Canucks and Boeser will agree on a longer team deal. That would give Boeser more long-term security and allow the Canucks to avoid the $7.5 million qualifying offer.
A contract between the Canucks and Boeser could look something like $6.125 million per year for 6 years. It would value Boeser as a low-end front-line winger or high-end second-line winger, somewhere around his role in a strong team.
What do you think a Boeser extension might look like?