The Vancouver Canucks got their man, and did it on their terms. Reid Boucher has signed a one-year contract with the Vancouver Canucks, and despite rumors that he wouldn’t accept it, the contract is a two-way deal. Boucher played 20 games for the Canucks last season but was a dominant presence in the minor leagues, a place he’ll try to avoid if possible during the 2018-19 season. Rich Dhaliwal of Sportsnet reports that Boucher will make $725K at the NHL level, but will be well-compensated in the AHL at $300K, with a total salary of $400K guaranteed.
Boucher, 24, recorded 46 points for the Utica Comets in 2017-18, leading the team in scoring despite playing in just 45 games. The rest of the season was spent with the Canucks, were he added five points in limited minutes but recorded some good possession statistics. Those numbers can be misleading though given that Boucher only spent 20 games in the NHL, and if he wants to remain their long-term he’ll have to take another step forward in his development.
He’ll turn 25 before the beginning of next season, but despite never playing in more than 39 games in a single season has enough to make him ineligible for Group VI UFA status next summer. That means the Canucks will retain his rights as a restricted free agent until the 2021 offseason, though they’ll need to keep qualifying him to do it. This is a huge season in Boucher’s career, and will likely determine if he’s an NHL or AHL player going forward. The Canucks are looking for more young players to help the turnaround, and should be more than willing to entertain Boucher’s attempt to lock down a roster spot in camp. If he can’t, Utica could get back one of the AHL’s very best offensive players if the team can slip him through waivers.