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Brock Boeser, Canucks reportedly still not close on contract

Pro Hockey Rumors logo Pro Hockey Rumors 4 days ago Gavin Lee, Pro Hockey Rumors
a man wearing a blue uniform holding a baseball bat © (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

The Vancouver Canucks begin training camp on Friday ahead of a big season with big expectations. Their young core led by Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes and Brock Boeser is hoping to push the Canucks into a playoff spot in the Pacific Division. There’s only one thing wrong with that picture — Boeser still doesn’t have a contract. The 22-year old won’t be with the club on Friday without one, and Rick Dhaliwal of Sportsnet reports that the two sides are still not close to a deal, with a big salary gap even on a short-term deal.

Boeser, who has scored 59 goals through the first 140 games of his career, is absolutely paramount to the Canucks’ chances this season. Even though Vancouver has added talent such as J.T. Miller, Micheal Ferland and Tyler Myers, no one can match Boeser’s pure goal-scoring ability and perfect fit with Pettersson on the top line. Boeser's 39 even-strength goals over the last two seasons put him ahead of other wingers such as Patrik Laine, Mitch Marner and Phil Kessel and he ranks 25th in the entire league for goals (of any variety) per game over that time.

How the two sides finally structure the deal to provide Boeser with the best financial opportunity remains the big question. There have been reports earlier this year that had Boeser asking for a number somewhere in the vicinity of $7 million per season, but it would be difficult for the Canucks to fit that in at the moment considering their other cap commitments — this is where Roberto Luongo’s recapture penalty is really squeezing GM Jim Benning and the rest of the front office. A comparable player in Timo Meier signed at the beginning of the summer for $24 million over four years, but loaded $10 million of that in salary at the end so that his qualifying offer would be that high in his final year of restricted free agency. The Canucks might not want to do something like that and provide a roadmap for Boeser to get to UFA status so easily, but obviously there is a substantial gap still on shorter-term deals.

It is important to note that unlike other restricted free agents who have played three full seasons on their entry-level contracts, Boeser is not eligible for an offer sheet thanks to making his NHL debut at the end of the 2016-17 season after coming out of college. He has only two options at this point, hold out or sign a deal with the Canucks, since he’s also not arbitration eligible. Boeser must sign before Dec. 1 in order to be eligible to play at all this season.

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