It’s official: Mitch Marner is still a Maple Leaf, Ivan Provorov is still a Flyer, and Brock Boeser remains unsigned by the Vancouver Canucks. The biggest domino finally fell on Friday afternoon which could put the rest of the remaining star restricted free agents in motion to sign as well in short order. The main one in question has resided in Vancouver for the past few seasons, but, so far, pen to paper isn’t set to happen.
My understanding is that the #Canucks offered Brock Boeser a six-year deal worth $42M ($7M AAV) around the draft and were turned down.
That might explain the stalemate today because now the agent *has* to do better for his client, & the Canucks have spent cap space on UFAs.
— Matthew Sekeres (@mattsekeres) September 12, 2019
The Canucks have started Training Camp for the 2019/2020 season and their top winger remains without a contract. Much of the Canucks’ perceived success this season will depend on the Elias Pettersson/Brock Boeser combination on the top line but until Boeser agrees to a new deal, line combinations will be in flux, fans emotions will face yet another stress test, and coach Travis Green can’t put together a proper roster that hopes to contend for the playoffs this season.
Working against Brock is definitely his health. He hasn’t played a full season yet due to a few nagging injuries (back and wrist) and he also hasn’t eclipsed the 30-goal plateau for a winger that harnesses one of the more lethal shots in the league. Despite these setbacks, he has the most to gain playing alongside Pettersson and the Canucks future is that much brighter when he’s in the lineup
Of course, there are plenty of reasons why Boeser deserves to be paid like his peers, or at least in the same ballpark, anyway. Brock has been on pace to score 30+ goals the last two years (30 goals last season and 38 in 2017/18). He ranks among the Top-3 in actual and advanced statistics for the Canucks in every category that matters, and let’s be honest: his hair is Top-3 in the league too!
The Marner signing was the pinnacle piece of the RFA puzzle and now the rest of the players needing deals can scale their requests accordingly. But can the Canucks offer a deal soon enough or will they need to take other actions?
What if one of those actions was making a move for fellow RFA Patrik Laine?
The Jets have a similar issue with their star winger across the country. Laine remains unsigned in Winnipeg as does Kyle Connor. With just over $14 million in cap space available, the Jets still need both of their stars signed to new deals. Defenseman Josh Morrissey just signed his new deal and is locked up until 2028 when the Jets will have to worry about signing their next RFA star.
Laine has held out, as has Boeser and if neither team can get something done, maybe a deal for each other makes sense. OK, Patrik Laine is easily the more valuable asset of the two, scoring at least 30 goals in his first three seasons, 44 in his sophomore year. Only four players are ahead of Laine in goals scored (110) since he came into the league (Alex Ovechkin – 133, Nikita Kucherov – 120, John Tavares – 112, Connor McDavid – 112, and Auston Matthews – 111). In that time, Brock has 59 and to be fair he’s only really played two of the three seasons his opponents have registered.
Furthermore, Boeser is scoring at a 0.42 G/GP clip in that time, 0.04 behind Laine who is T-7 in the league since 2016/17.
The construct of the deal isn’t all that complicated but the Canucks will have to move in a slightly new direction with a few of their players and assets. First of all, after the two main pieces are exchanged, there would need to be more going the other way to Winnipeg. Here’s the breakdown:
TO WPG: Brock Boeser, Brandon Sutter, Thatcher Demko and a 2020 3rd round pick.
TO VAN: Patrik Laine
Feels like a lot on the surface, right?
Signing either of these players will take a few bucks and the Canucks don’t have a lot of said bucks to work with. A move of this nature might have needed to be upgraded if Marner was still on the market but that’s been settled.
After Boeser, Thatcher Demko would be the next piece of value and he’d be able to back up Connor Hellebuyck for at least 30 games and would instantly be on a playoff team. It’s not quite Roberto Luongo/Cory Schneider but it would suffice in Winnipeg. He’d also fit under the cap after Boeser signs as well.
Michael DiPietro is coming along nicely and could end up being the better goaltender of the two current netminders in Vancouver’s stable. Demko makes the Jets better and the defense in front of him is a lot better than the group in Vancouver.
Brandon Sutter gets moved off the books and the “thank-you for taking him off our hands’ price” is the 3rd round pick. The Jets may need to add a player or two to alleviate some of the cap problems they’ll have when they also need to sign Connor but not necessarily.
Boeser would have a loyal following almost immediately with family in Minnesota not that far away in the south, not to mention the waves of fans in the North Dakota area. It wouldn’t be the worst thing to happen to the Jets.
Over in Vancouver, the Canucks get another Nordic star that could push Pettersson into Superstar status in his next season. Laine has a bit more of an edge than Boeser and if he came, the Canucks power play would have a chance to be first in the league in no time at all. Laine is second only to Alex Ovechkin in PPG in the last three seasons with 44 tallies to Ovie’s 52.
Take away the emotional attachment that Canucks fans have with Brock Boeser and solely based on a hockey standpoint, the Canucks should seriously consider offering this to Kevin Cheveldayoff.
Canucks fans want the team to be serious about winning, Laine is serious about winning.