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Why the Vancouver Canucks Won’t Actually Trade Brock Boeser

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In an article on July 10, the Canucks Army’s writer David Quadrelli asked why the Vancouver Canucks were exploring the idea of trading Brock Boeser. That’s a good question. Apparently the thought for this question came from the following tweet.

Often a report like this is engaged by someone trying to get some attention of flying a balloon to see how long it stays in the area. However, this report comes from a credible source in TSN1040s Matt Sekeres. So, what might give?

Related: Vancouver Canucks Annual Player Awards: And The Winners Are!

Is This a Good Time to Consider Trading Boeser – Even if the Team Desires?

Quadrelli makes some good points in his post that are worth repeating. First, it isn’t a good time to trade Boeser – even if the team wanted to – for two reasons. First, Boeser’s value might not be commensurate with his true abilities. He’s had injuries over the past three seasons and he doesn’t have a body of work that would attract other teams enough to offer high value.

Sure teams all over the NHL obviously know who Boeser is, but the truth is (and those of us who live in the far west of Canada know it well), geographically the Canucks players are a bit hidden from the rest of Canada.

Second, there’s a chance that Boeser is even better than those flashes of great play he’s shown during his time with the Canucks. He might be even better than we could have imagined. Don’t you kind of want to wait to see what you really have here, Mr. Jim Benning? I know I do.

Is It a Choice Between Brock Boeser or Tyler Toffoli?

Quadrelli also asks if Boeser might be on the “sort-of” trade block because the team really wants to re-sign Tyler Toffoli. First, I can see why the team would hope to re-sign Toffoli. He played well in his time with the team and certainly fits in nicely – and is a nice guy fitting in.

If that’s too many “nices” in the same sentence, my point is that everything I’ve seen suggests that Toffoli is both a “nice” player and a “nice” guy. I think the team and the fans would like him and I can see the desire to resign him. Someone will want him on their team, but will he get much more than the $4.6 million he’s signed for currently? I don’t see it happening.

Interestingly, I see many similarities between Boeser and Toffoli. But Boeser is home-grown and Toffoli is from “away” as they say in Eastern Canada. I’d like to keep both, but if I had to lose one it would be Toffoli. Plus, as Quadrelli notes, Toffoli is five years older than Boeser; so, if they’re going to sign for close to the same money – well, that too points to Boeser.

Do the Canucks Have a Desperate Need to Fill?

Perhaps Boeser is trade bait because the Canucks have a desperate need to fill. Assuming Jacob Markstrom signs – which he says he wants to do, it isn’t a need in goal. The forwards are pretty solid on this team. So it must be on defense.

But I don’t see a need huge enough there to move Boeser. Quinn Hughes is amazing and a building block of the team. Alex Edler is, well, himself. He’s a solid player and the team’s elder statesman. He stays and plays. Perhaps Troy Stecher might be upgraded, but he’s not that bad a player. Tyler Myers started to play well and I think has more in him. He can dominate.

Christopher Tanev is on an expiring contract, but he wants to stay and would likely not ask for the moon. He’s a warrior. I say keep him. Jordie Benn has another season left on a $2 million salary-cap hit – that’s doable and he’s a solid veteran. And certainly, there are capable bottom-six players in the group of Oscar Fantenberg, Guillaume Brisebois, Olli Juolevi, Brogan Rafferty, Ashton Sautner, or Jalen Chatfield.

Sure, upgrades are possible; but, not to move Boeser.

Related: Why Do Advanced Statistics Rank Elias Pettersson as so Valuable to the Vancouver Canucks?

Are the Canucks Desperate to Clear Salary-Cap Space?

Sure, moving Boeser’s $5.875 million contract would clear salary-cap space; but, a flat salary cap means the space available next season would be the same space that was available this season. Thus, the team already knows the contract numbers work with Boeser there.

Markstrom, Tanev, and Stecher, who are on expiring contracts, just need to sign for the same numbers as this season. Is that impossible to believe might happen given the difficult times brought on by COVID-19? Where else would they go and find more money?

Final Thoughts About Boeser Being Traded?

I might be completely wrong, but I cannot see the Canucks choosing to move Boeser in the first place. In fact, I think the entire NHL is reeling in the wake of a pandemic that is far from over. Next season, there will likely be continued reeling as well.

What does that mean? First, I can’t imagine a scenario where many players change teams. I think everyone hunkers down. Second, given the flat salary cap and the impact of COVID-19, I don’t think it’s an especially good time for a free agent to move.

Of the top three free agents who could move after this season – Taylor Hall (Arizona Coyotes), Alex Pietrangelo (St. Louis Blues), and Braden Holtby (Washington Capitals) – I don’t see any of them leaving the team they’re with. Nor can I see any of them signing a higher contract then they are currently signed for. I admit I might be wrong; but, I simply think any UFA under 30 will sign a short-term contract for close to what they earned in 2019-20.

Boeser might not be one of the Canucks’ untouchable assets. But I don’t see him moving. As Quadrelli notes, it would be to re-sign Toffoli, get better on defense, or clear cap space. But, is any of those issues so pressing that the team needs to panic?

Perhaps there’s a fourth option we simply don’t know. If the rumor is accurate, what don’t we yet know?

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