It’s been a whirlwind of a season for the Vancouver Canucks, and perhaps even more so for Brock Boeser. As his team rose from the ashes of the late Travis Green/Jim Benning era, their collective stock pointed upwards under new coach Bruce Boudreau, Boeser himself has seen his stock as a core member of the Canucks fall to perhaps its lowest point in his professional career. As the season comes to a close, Boeser has put together a career-worst season, with only 46 points in 70 games. It’s a sharp decline from last season, when he was in strong form, posting 49 points in 56 games, and a decline that has led to his name being floated in trade rumors. The idea of trading Boeser was essentially unthinkable even just 12 months ago, but now as Boeser stands as a pending RFA with arbitration rights, a sizeable qualifying offer required to keep his services, and the ability to hit unrestricted free agency in short order, the idea has become far more realistic than it has ever been.
But as it stands, the idea of trading Boeser may be unrealistic after all, though. According to Rick Dhaliwal of CHEK TV, “everything is on the table” in terms of an extension for Boeser. Dhaliwal notes that while it once seemed as though the team would need to either commit to Boeser long-term or find a new home for him, it now seems that, as Dhaliwal puts it, “everybody is okay with even a short-term deal.” In summation, Dhaliwal reports that the Canucks “are going to work hard to try to get Boeser re-signed,” and that the possibility of a trade is “not something [he’s] hearing.” While the idea of what Boeser could return in a trade might be tantalizing, Dhaliwal’s reporting has to come as a welcome development for Canucks fans. For all the faults in his play this season, Boeser is still a young star offensive player who only last year was scoring at a near point-per-game rate. The idea of trading him was always going to be a tough sell to a devoted fanbase eagerly awaiting the team’s return to contention, and it seems like the Canucks’ management team agrees with that sentiment.
Now, for some other notes from across the NHL.
- One of the aspects of building a potential Stanley Cup-winning team that is often highly important but also somewhat under-recognized is the impact of a team’s organizational depth. A team’s organizational depth is flexed through their “black aces,” or the players who are attached to their team as they compete in the playoffs but don’t dress for games on a regular basis. They are the players who are around to be ready at a moment’s notice, and with the brutal nature of playoff hockey, it is more likely than not that a team will have to dip into their reserves of players as they go deep into the playoffs. The New York Rangers hope to be one of those teams going deep into the playoffs, and today Larry Brooks of the New York Post reported the group of players who will make up the Rangers’ Black Aces. The Rangers will have a group of seven players, per Brooks: Zac Jones, Nils Lundkvist, Matthew Robertson, Jarred Tinordi, Lauri Pajuniemi, Tim Gettinger, and Keith Kinkaid.
- In a bit of good news, there is a positive update on prospect Ivan Miroshnichenko. Miroshnichenko is one of the most talented players available for this year’s NHL draft, but in March it was announced that he had been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, clouding his professional future. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports on his 32 Thoughts podcast that Miroshnichenko is heading into his final round of chemotherapy and that some NHL teams met with him in Germany. Friedman says that he was told Miroshnichenko “looks pretty good, all things considered.” Friedman stated that after his treatment, the focus for Miroshnichenko will be getting back into on-ice shape and that while his draft situation is still murky, the health updates have been positive. So while these updates may not restore his place at the top of NHL team’s draft boards, these reports do indicate that he is in a much better spot with his health, which is ultimately far more important.