Brock Boeser doesn’t want to get traded.
And he doesn’t think he’s going to be.
The Vancouver Canucks winger explained his desire to win a Stanley Cup in Vancouver during a season-wrap-up session with reporters on Thursday.
“I don’t think I’m going to get traded. Obviously, rumours are going to happen and stuff is going to be out in the media. But I love Vancouver, I love the guys that I play with, I love the organization, the fans. I want to be a Canuck,” he said via Zoom.
Boeser has been connected as a possible trade target for the Minnesota Wild in recent days, who seem likely to trade defenceman Matt Dumba sooner rather than later. Boeser, of course, is a Minnesota native. And the Wild have had interest in Boeser in the past, albeit that was a query by Paul Fenton, Bill Guerin’s predecessor as general manager.
That said, Guerin got a first-hand look at Boeser during the Stanley Cup qualifiers this summer in Edmonton. Boeser scored twice against the Wild in the Canucks’ 3-1 series win.
Canucks general manager Jim Benning said he’s always talking with GMs of other teams. But if Boeser’s name has been raised by other teams, he certainly wasn’t going to reveal that to reporters.
He was only willing to speak in general terms, about the overall picture.
“We’re trying to figure out what the market is going to look like,” Benning said, flatly. “But no, nothing imminent.”
In a separate conversation Thursday, he told Sportsnet he did not receive any calls from Minnesota about Boeser , who he drafted 23rd overall in 2015. And The Athletic has suggested Guerin is more likely after a top-six centre in exchange for Dumba.
Now with three NHL seasons under his belt, those playoff games this summer were the first for the 23 year old. In all Boeser played 17 games this summer, scoring four goals and adding seven assists.
“I’m really happy with the way I played. I thought I played really hard. I was really committed to the 200-foot game,” he said.
But there’s always room for improvement.
“I thought I could shoot the puck more. When I shoot the puck it drives my game, that’s when I play better, I generate more scoring chances.”
Boeser’s best stretches have come when he’s been firing the puck. It’s not a fluke that he’s scored two goals every five games over the course of his NHL career. That’s a tidy rate, one that’s netted him 75 goals so far.
The struggle has been to stay healthy. He hasn’t played a full season yet and has often found himself battling injuries even when he’s dressed.
After a strong start to the 2019-20 season, Boeser struggled through a 19-game stretch after Christmas where he only scored three goals. He ended up being taken off the Lotto Line with J.T. Miller and Elias Pettersson and put on a line with Adam Gaudette.
The change in roles didn’t help his offensive game. And then he got hurt. It was a frustrating period for him, he said. That said, it was something to be philosophical about.
“I don’t think every guy’s career in the NHL is going to go smooth,” Boeser said. “I ’m still learning. I felt that was a good learning curve for me. To play with different guys, different lines I think it will help me in the long run.
“When you’re not scoring goals you’ve got to figure out other ways to help your team any way you can. That taught me what you need to do when you’re not scoring goals.”
Even so, scoring goals is what he’s paid to do. He has two seasons left on the “bridge” contract he signed before this past season.
“I definitely think I can continue to work on my shot and find ways to get to those areas to get those shots off,” he said.
The pace and intensity of the playoffs were a reminder of how the best players elevate their game even as the opposition does everything they can to knock star players off their game.
“You saw it with Petey in the playoffs, with Huggy in the playoffs,” he said.
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