This week the Straight will analyze what might be done with each of the Vancouver Canucks’ six major restricted free agents. In the sixth and final installment, we look at Brock Boeser’s fate.
Well, here we are. At the end of poring over each of the Vancouver Canucks’ major restricted free agents, we’ve arrived at Brock Boeser. Unquestionably the most important RFA for Vancouver (his average salary might come close to besting the combined numbers of the previous five we covered), Boeser’s situation isn’t actually as complicated as some of the team’s other unsigned players.
One of Vancouver’s best forwards, the Canucks would probably like to get Boeser locked up to a long-term deal. Yes, there are the murmurs about his durability (he’s already dealt with back and wrist issues during his two full years in the league), but let’s be real. If the Canucks want to protect themselves from Boeser exploding in the next couple years and demanding an extremely hefty contract, they’d be best served to lock him up now.
Last season, Boeser scored at a .81 point-per-game pace (56 points in 69 games). That’s solid and puts him in the same category as a whack of other highly coveted RFAs. But the chief comparison is William Nylander, who signed a six-year deal worth $45 million last December after a prolonged negotiation with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
That’ll be the starting point for the Boeser discussions, as Nylander had 61 points in 82 games prior to the contract. Boeser had a better point-per-game rate in both of the two seasons directly before negotiations than Nylander did in his. And the cap will go up this season.
Of course, there will be other comparables. Boeser’s agent Ben Hankinson has said that he will be watching the market to see what similar RFAs garner. There are some massive names, including Brayden Point, Patrik Laine, Mitch Marner, and Mikko Rantanen. The production those forwards have put up in the past couple seasons means they will probably sign more lucrative deals than Boeser.
But others like Timo Meier and Kyle Connor will help set the lower end of the bar for what Boeser’s contract might look like.
There will be variables as the offseason goes on, but both sides already have a vision in their minds of Boeser’s next contract, even if few public details have come out.
What the player will want:
Boeser is confident, and probably wouldn’t be too shy about signing a short-term deal to garner a bigger payoff a couple years down the road. He definitely believes in himself enough to take that risk.
But more likely is a safe, secure long-term contract. On that, Boeser and Hankinson will swing for something seven years long with an average in the neighbourhood of $8 million.
What the team will offer:
That will be a lot for the team to take in. Even with the increased salary cap, $8 million a year would represent a big chunk of the team’s cap room. It would be the largest deal on the team’s books since the Sedins signed identical four-year, $28 million pacts in 2014. Of course, they each took up a much larger percentage of the cap than Boeser would be.
But the team will probably come in somewhere around $7.5 million on a six-year deal. The Canucks will argue that Beoser doesn’t have the same long-term track record of success as some of his RFA brethren. They’ll also point to his injury history as a red flag.
Boeser is going to get paid. And signing a short-term deal just feels too risky at this point. The Canucks believe in Boeser, and he believes in himself. Anything lower than Nylander’s deal—which carries an average of $7.5 million a season—will be deemed unacceptable by Boeser’s camp.
We see it coming in around $7.85 million on a seven-year deal. And it’ll probably be good business for both sides.
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