Canucks Army Prospect Profile: #1 Brock Boeser


After a month of digging through the Canucks prospect pile, we find NCAA sniper Brock Boeser at the top of the heap. The 19-year old is heading into his sophomore season at the University of North Dakota, and will have a tough time topping his freshman year: a season in which he lead his team in goals and points, approached school records, and played a key role in UND’s national championship. Somehow though, it’s hard to doubt that he’ll find a way to improve on that.

Brock Boeser clocks in at #1: the top prospect in the 2016-17 Vancouver Canucks’ system.

We like Brock Boeser a whole lot here at Canucks Army, and I in particular am a big booster of the Minnesota sniper. Drafted 23rd overall at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Boeser was a bit of an unknown at the time – with so many CA-approved names still on the board, we kind of forgot about Boeser, who was still a very reasonable choice at 23 in any case. Now a year later, one could certainly argue that he could have gone in the top ten.

By the time Boeser got through his first interview at the draft, Canucks fans had a much clearer picture of what they had acquired. A tragic tale of overcoming loss interspersed with highlight packs of Boeser picking corners from 40 feet out painted a picture of a player mature beyond his years and admirable for both his internal and external characteristics. He drove that point home again after the NCAA championship when he took Baylee Bjorge, a North Dakota student with Down Syndrome, to her high school prom, prompting a discussion of whether he was destined to be captain of the Canucks someday (which is all well and good, but caman, Bo is the captain in waiting, we know this – Boeser gets an ‘A’ for sure).

By the time we’d looked deeper into Boeser’s numbers, we knew that we were dealing with a gifted goal scorer. TSN’s Craig Button stated at the draft that, in his opinion, Boeser had the best shot of any player in the last couple of drafts. And so we waited with bated to see how well his talents would translate to the tougher competition in the NCAA.

As it turned out, we didn’t have to wait long, as Boeser scored 17 and a half minutes into his first exhibition game with the University of North Dakota. Four games into the regular season, he potted a hat-trick, never going more than three games without scoring a goal for the whole season, celebrating four separate multi-goal nights. As time went on, Boeser’s production went from merely impressive to record setting. When I made him the Canucks Prospect First Star in January of this year, Boeser was in the midst of chasing UND freshman goal milestones held by Jonathan Toews (22), T.J. Oshie (24), and Zach Parise (26) – he surpassed all three by the end of the season. He was named the NCHC conference rookie of the week during January, and January’s co-rookie of the month.

By the time the season was winding down, Boeser had gone from a notable rookie to one of the NCAA’s most dangerous offensive threats. He finished the season fourth in goals among all college players, third in total points, second in points among freshmen, and first in goals and points on his team. Not only did he pile up the points, but he routinely looked phenomenal doing it.

Scoring at such a high rate at such a young age at the collegiate level, Boeser doesn’t have many statistical comparables. In fact, just four players were above the similarity threshold according to the latest version of pGPS*, although it’s hard to complain too much about the names that came out. Jonathan Toews and Thomas Vanek headline the group, while Colin Wilson is also on the list. Former Penguin Matt Murley rounds out the list as the only player among the group to play less than the 200-game threshold (He suited up for 62 NHL games), given Boeser a pGPS percentage of 75.0%.

His time at the World Junior tournament netted him a much lower 21.3 percent, as the three points he tallied in seven games are quite pedestrian. Next year he’s likely to get a better opportunity to show off as he’s going to be somewhat of a veteran presence on Team U.S.A.

*A recent development in the pGPS involved the re-scaling of a large portion of ages of players, particularly in professional leagues and those that had a greater variety of ages. The goal was to tighten up the age range among matches, which seems to have been accomplished in all relevant leagues. As such, you may notice drastic differences between these current numbers are ones that have been reported previously.

2014-15 Waterloo USHL 57 35 23 58 25.0 55.0 16.77
2015-16 North Dakota NCAA 42 27 33 60 75.0 70.0 64.04
2015-16 U.S.A. U20 WJC U20 7 1 2 3 21.3 44.6 11.58

Boeser’s trajectory will take him back to the Univeristy of North Dakota next season for a sophomore NCAA campaign in what will almost certainly be his final college year. It’s likely that he’s already developed enough to take a crack at the NHL roster, but there’s nothing to lose and plenty to gain by heading back to school for another year. There have been plenty of debates since his draft about when he’ll sign with the Canucks, but I’d wager that it’ll be somewhere within the confines of the 2016-17 NHL season. Depending on the levels of success of Vancouver, Utica and UND, it’s possible that he could sign a contract, or a PTO, and turn pro for a couple of games at the end of the season. Of course, he could be too busy leading North Dakota to another championship at that point, so we’ll have to wait and see.

Until then, we’ll be on the lookout for gifs and clips of Boeser tearing apart the NCAA – this time with BCHL prospect Tyson Jost as sit pivot. I had Boeser in the top spot of my personal list because of his innate ability to create offense all on his own, and while preventing goals is absolutely important, scoring goals is really the name of the game – plus, he makes it look so pretty.

  • Peachy

    I like the fact that he’s not rushing into the NHL at the first opportunity. That shows good judgement. I wouldn’t even mind if he spent three years in college.

  • Ryan Biech

    Cannot wait to see what he does this year. All
    Indications point to another big ear for him. I really want to see what he’ll do at the WJC with a more prominent role on team USA.

    Good lost this year. I’m hoping to see profiles for the guys outside of the top
    20, stukel, Mckenzie, garteig etc. I personally think there is some real potential not yet listed.

  • TrueBlue

    Benning is quietly and patiently building a strong team. The prospect pipeline is vastly improved compared to four years ago, with a nice blend of skill at different positions.

    I just hope Canuck fans are patient, since the young players are still developing, and the team isn’t likely to improve significantly in the standings this year. Teams like Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Arizona are further along in the rebuild, and the Canucks top prospects likely won’t even join the team this year. 1 or 2 more years of pain are likely for Canuck fans.

    But the draft lottery is only 8 months away… it will be interesting to see who emerges as the top draft prospects. Hopefully a few centers with #1 potential.

      • Bob Long

        I hope so. Maxime Comtois looks interesting, too. I’m sure the prospect rankings will start to get clearer in the next few months. Right now, they seem to be all over the place.

        • Bob Long

          This would be an excellent year to try and land a second 1st round pick. Although with expansion I think teams will be looking to keep their picks.

          I would say Edler would be the best to be moved but Joulevi wouldnt be ready to fill in on the top pairing for a couple of seasons.

          With Boeser more than likely stepping in to a top 6 spot next season and with Ericksson it would more than likely make one of JV, Rodin or Hansen expendable.

          With teams like Tampa Bay(Forwards) and Anaheim(Defensemen) probably going to loose quality players to LV this might be one of the most interesting seasons for player movement in a long long time.

    • hard to be patient with the rebuild/retool/build-on-the fly model canucks are doing. they say the goal is the playoffs which is why they aren’t rebuilding.

      It’s why they are paying Erickson $6m/per, and why they aren’t trading guys at the deadline to maximize picks.

      If they were rebuilding, i think there’d be a lot more patience for them, but that is clearly not the stated goal.

      • TrueBlue

        damn, if you are this impatient with all the change that has happened, I can’t imagine you’d be more patient with a full on tear down and rebuild.

        yes, the stated goal is to make the playoffs. they miss one playoffs after making the playoffs the year before and people are freaking out.

        it isn’t like there was a lot of demand for our players at the last tdl. ffs JB put out a list of who was available. and if guys have ntc’s his hands are tied.

        can’t wait for hockey to start.

  • Bob Long

    2019/20. Beser-Horvat-JV take over the Sedins as the top line.

    The more I think about the character of this kid. Given his family’s financial predicament and still willing to go to school and not take the money to sign pro speaks spades for his character. His wrist shot is already Naslund-esque.

  • Bob Long

    Boeser and UND going back for back to back NCAA championships is going tough with a loaded Boston team. Will be an interesting season with Just as his pivot.

    Has to be the preseason favourite for the Hobey Baker with probably only Keller as a threat.

  • I agree, Brock is #1, but not by much. We now have quality prospects in our system. Watching this kid rip the puck is something else. He is 1st line forward material, that’s for sure.

    This coming draft is rich in centers. This will be the time to stock up. My guess is managements focus is on adding forwards, now that the back end is stabilized. That is a good strategy, as goalies and defenders need more time to develop. It only makes sense to build the rear first, and add forwards after. However, this takes time.

  • A very good Draft+1 year for Boeser. Also, it’s great that he won something at the end of it.

    Jimbo again demonstrates his drafting savvy.

    Boeser doesn’t have all that much more to learn or prove at the NCAA level – other than being the “go to” guy. Hopefully he can also focus on bulking up and his skating, so he’ll be ready to jump to the AHL next season.

  • Bob Long

    I always look forward to the top prospect list from CA. Now that its been around a few years could we see a summary or comparison of the top 20 picks from this year compared to the past?