It’s been a bleak season for the Vancouver Canucks.
Perhaps developments Friday evening can provide some optimism for fans of a team that can’t score, has trouble defending and has been decimated by injury.
Brock Boeser’s sophomore college season came to an end Friday, as North Dakota lost 4-3 to Boston University in double overtime. The Canucks selected Boeser 23rd overall in the 2015 draft with the hopes the talented right winger would one day become a central figure in that team’s scoring attack.
In his first season at North Dakota, Boeser scored 27 goals and 60 points in 42 games. His overall production dropped in his sophomore year — he had wrist surgery in December — but he still averaged more than a point per game in 31 contests, with 16 goals.
With North Dakota’s campaign finished, the Canucks can now work to get Boeser under contract and perhaps get him into some NHL games to close out what has been a disappointing season in Vancouver.
Updated: Brad Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald reports a deal is imminent:
Brock Boeser will sign with the Vancouver Canucks soon according to a source—and he could make his NHL debut as soon as tonight.
The Canucks are in Minnesota on Saturday and Winnipeg on Sunday.
In that case, the Canucks would burn the first year of his entry-level contract.
The Canucks, officially eliminated from playoff contention, have nine games remaining on their schedule.
Giving the fans something to get excited about in another season gone south seems as vital as giving Boeser a crash course on what to expect next season.
The Canucks are willing to burn a year of his entry-level deal because playing one game at age 20 would do that. But it seems worth the price for an organization in transition, even if Boeser would become a restricted free agent after two seasons and be in line for a big pay day should his production match predictions of effectiveness.
It seemed, several weeks ago, that North Dakota’s hockey program was preparing for Boeser to turn pro after his second year ended.
Related: Trading Burrows and Hansen represents significant ‘shift’ for Canucks