This post is part of Canucks Day on PHT…
The bad news is that the Vancouver Canucks are a bottom-feeder in the NHL.
The good news is that they’re finally acknowledging that reality, and with that, accruing the sort of prospects that might help them break out of their funk.
With that, there are plenty of players who are looking to make the leap, and multiple candidates could do just that in 2017-18. Olli Juolevi, the fifth pick of the 2016 NHL Draft, shows a lot of promise on defense. Nikolay Goldobin was a candidate for the Sharks last year, and is another guy to watch for Vancouver. Anton Rodin couldn’t quite land the splash he hoped to make in 2016-17.
Brock Boeser could be the best of the bunch, at least as far as next season is concerned.
Boeser, 20, already got his feet wet at the NHL level last season, generating four goals and one assist in nine games. With almost three shots on goal per contest, Boeser wasn’t exactly shy to assert himself with the Canucks.
Boeser spent most of the past campaign starring for the University of North Dakota, scoring 16 goals and 34 points in 32 games. He was actually even more productive the season before, scoring 27 goals and 60 points in 42 contests after the Canucks selected him 23rd overall in the 2015 NHL Draft.
Those experiences all help, but as Kevin Woodley’s NHL.com piece from August notes, it seems like he also learned from his mistakes. With a lot of competition between other prospects and incoming veterans such as Sam Gagner fighting for time, director of player development Ryan Johnson noticed a difference in Boeser this summer.
“The way he is carrying himself, his demeanor, his intensity from drill to drill, he has a professional way about him now,” Johnson said. “Whereas last year maybe [he was] just getting through things, everything he does now has a purpose to it. … He realizes how hard things are going to be (at training camp) in September, a lot of competition, so he’s doing things the right way to put himself in a good spot.”
The Canucks are likely to hold an especially competitive training camp, and Boeser should be a big reason why it will be so intriguing.