It wasn’t long ago that Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser‘s name was brought up in trade rumours. Last season, was a disappointing season for the native of Burnsville Minnesota. He was struggling offensively and it looked like a fresh start would benefit him. But looking back, it is a good thing the Canucks didn’t trade Boeser because he has looked like a rejuvenated player. Brock Boeser’s redemption season is a great story in what has been a fairly good year for the Canucks.
Brock Boeser’s Redemption Season with the Canucks
When Boeser was drafted 23rd overall, scouts said his best attribute was that he could score goals. After two seasons with the University of North Dakota, (where he won the NCAA National Championship in his first season there) Boeser looked like one of the NHL’s deadliest snipers as he scored 29 goals in his rookie season before a horrific back injury in March of 2018 made him miss the rest of the year. As a result, Boeser was named to the All-Star Game (where he was MVP) and was nominated for the Calder Memorial Trophy finishing second in voting to Mathew Barzal.
Rookie Brock Boeser was something else. #BrockStar
🎥: Delta Highlights on YouTube pic.twitter.com/FvRL4Jcr7L
— CanucksArmy (@CanucksArmy) October 3, 2023
Over the next few seasons, Boeser would struggle with injuries. He still managed to score goals but many were tap-ins and rebounds and not his signature shot from his rookie season.
The Hurdles of the 2022-23 Season
Last season, Boeser went through many stretches without scoring goals and it looked like he could be on his way out of Vancouver. But Boeser’s value wasn’t high and his 6.65 million dollar cap hit would have been tough for teams to take.
The Canucks kept him around. He made a big impact instantly as he scored a hat trick on opening night in the 8-1 rout of the Edmonton Oilers. At the time of this writing, Boeser has 18 goals on the season. He was one behind Nikita Kucherov and is tied with Auston Matthews. To put things in perspective, Boeser has 18 goals last season.
He is on pace for 52 goals which would blow away the number he scored in his rookie season.
It seems Boeser has driven to the net even more this season. Many of his goals have been scored in front of the net. According to MoneyPuck, Boeser is most effective in front of the net. His shooting percentage in all situations has increased from 7.4% in 2022-23 to 18% so far in 18%.
That finish by Brock Boeser 🤌 pic.twitter.com/zJCIOTjPPE
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) December 6, 2023
More than Goals for Boeser
While Boeser has improved his scoring, he has improved other areas of his game. His passing ability has improved over the years but it seems like it has gotten better this season.
What hasn’t been talked about is his play on the boards. Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet is a big advocate for forechecking and strong board play. Boeser is doing just that. He’s been doing a good job of forcing turnovers along the boards and creating scoring chances.
The best example is his assist on JT Miller’s goal on Saturday night against the Carolina Hurricanes.
— Lachlan Irvine (@LachInTheCrease) December 10, 2023
Boeser has also proved to be very smart defensively and it seems he is more engaged in the defensive zone this season. For instance, the Canucks have only given up eight high-danger goals against when Boeser was on the ice at 5 on 5 according to NaturalStatTrick. Last season, they gave up 43 with him on the ice.
Boeser is glad he is still a Canuck
Boeser talked about his bounce-back season and the trade rumours from last season on After Hours with Scott Oake and Dave Tomlinson after the Canucks win over Carolina.
“Even in the summer, I was happy I never got traded,” he said. “I think everything happens for a reason. I love Vancouver, I love the fans, I’m really happy that I’m still here.”
Canucks fans should be happy too. A year ago, it looked like Boeser wouldn’t live up to his contract expectations but now he is on pace for a career season.
Main Photo: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports