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Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin - USA TODAY Sports

Using League-Wide Comparables To Predict Brock Boeser’s Next Contract

The Facts 

Brock Boeser’s contract will expire on July 1, 2019, though the Vancouver Canucks will retain his rights as a Restricted Free Agent if they have not already signed him to an extension by then—provided they qualify his contract with a qualifying offer, an occurrence so certain it barely merits mention. This expiring contract was Boeser’s Entry-Level Contract and was thus subject to several Entry-Level salary restraints. His next contract will have no such restrictions.

While many believe that Boeser can’t sign an extension until January 1, 2019, that rule actually only applies to those players on one-year contracts. As a player on a multiyear deal, Boeser can sign an extension at any point in the last year of his contract—meaning he could have re-signed with the Canucks as early as July 1, 2018. Presumably, both sides have been negotiating intermittently since that date.

This time around, Boeser’s contract will only be subject to the same constraints put on all NHL contracts. He can sign for a maximum of eight years with Vancouver—or seven with another team if an offer sheet enters the picture—and he can only sign for an amount, including all bonuses, that does not exceed 20% of his team’s salary cap. With the cap set at $79.5 million for the 2018/19 season, that adds up to a maximum of $15.9 million in terms of individual cap hit.

By taking a look at some of Boeser’s closest comparables around the league, we’ll try to make our best guess at what sort of contract he can be expected to sign.

                           

Brock Boeser’s Accomplishments

In his NHL career thus far, Boeser has put together an impressive resume. As NHL contract negotiations typically start with the raw numbers, so will we. All of Boeser’s stats are current as of December 27, 2018.

Player Age NHL Seasons Draft+ Seasons Points-per-Game
Brock Boeser 21 (Turns 22 on Feb. 25) ~2 Draft+5 0.86

 

Obvious Comparables 

After looking at statistics, NHL negotiators on either side gather a list of comparable contracts upon which base the new contract. Below, we’ve gathered the most obvious comparables to Boeser (high-scoring wingers coming off ELCs) from the last few seasons and included a snapshot of their stats at the time they signed their extension, as well as details of the contract they signed.

The percentage of the salary cap that their cap hit represented when they signed their contract is included to provide important context across multiple years of fluctuating caps.

Player Year Extension Signed Age NHL Seasons Draft+ Seasons Points-per-Game Cap Hit (Millions)

/Years

% of Salary Cap
Johnny Gaudreau 2016 23 3 Draft+5 0.89 $6.75/Six Years 9.25%
David Pastrnak 2017 22 3 Draft+3 0.72 $6.67/Six Years 8.89%
Nikolaj Ehlers 2017 22 2 Draft+3 0.66 $6/Seven Years 8%
Vladimir Tarasenko 2015 23 3 Draft+5 0.75 $7.5/Eight Years 10.27%
Filip Forsberg 2016 21 2.5 Draft+4 0.73 $6/Six Years 8.22%

This small group of comparables demonstrates pretty clearly that the Canucks can expect to dedicate at least 8% of their total salary cap to Boeser’s contract, and to commit to at least six years worth of term.

 

The Full Field Of Comparable Contracts

The fine folks at CapFriendly.com have put together a handy tool for compiling contract comparables on their site. Using that tool, we were able to chart the 20 best comparables from the last few seasons for a player of Boeser’s age and production levels below. Using those numbers (which are all based on the time at which each player signed their extension), we can establish both a range and an average of what to expect when Boeser re-signs. Here’s a link for the CapFriendly input parameters we used to get the results.

Player Cap Hit (Millions)

/Years

Points-per-Game % of Salary Cap
Nikolaj Ehlers $6/Seven Years 0.66 8%
David Pastrnak $6.67/Six Years 0.72 8.89%
Johnny Gaudreau $6.75/Six Years 0.89 9.25%
Sean Monahan $6.38/Seven Years 0.67 8.73%
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins $6/Seven Years 0.75 9.33%
Vladimir Tarasenko $7.5/Eight Years 0.75 10.27%
Nathan MacKinnon $6.3/Seven Years 0.70 8.63%
Jonathan Drouin $5.5/Six Years 0.58 7.53%
Leon Draisaitl $8.5/Eight Years 0.72 11.33%
Alex Tuch $4.75/Seven Years 0.44 5.97%
Filip Forsberg $6/Six Years 0.73 8.22%
Evgeny Kuznetsov $7.8/Eight Years 0.70 10.4%
Gabriel Landeskog $5.57/Seven Years 0.58 8.66%
Jake Guentzel $6/Five Years 0.72 7.55%
Mark Scheifele $6.13/Eight Years 0.64 8.39%
Bo Horvat $5.5/Six Years 0.51 7.33%
Brandon Saad $6/Six Years 0.61 8.22%
Aleksander Barkov $5.9/Six Years 0.57 8.08%
Dylan Larkin $6.1/Five Years 0.58 7.67%
Jonathan Huberdeau $5.9/Six Years 0.63 8.08%
Range X 0.44-0.89 5.97%-11.33%
Average X 0.66 9%

When comparing Brock Boeser’s numbers to the field above, it is important to remember that Boeser was the beneficiary of a short, but excellent, rookie season, which gives his career points-per-game a serious boost. His games-played totals are also lower than where most of these players were when they signed their contracts, due to Boeser’s multiple injuries.

That being said, Boeser’s production is in the highest tier of this comparable chart, and that probably means his eventual compensation will be, too.

 

Intangible Considerations 

Of course, hockey isn’t just about the statistics, and neither are contract negotiations. At some point in the back-and-forth, so-called “intangible” considerations must enter the mix.

In the case of Brock Boeser, the intangible attribute most likely to come up during negotiations is his proneness to injury. Boeser battled injuries even before his pro career began, and he’s suffered some serious maladies as an NHL player. While some—like the open gate-induced broken back—were definitely freak occurrences that don’t necessarily point to Boeser being prone to anything other than bad luck, it’s definitely fair to say that thus far Boeser has been injured more frequently, and more severely, than the average sophomore.

That being said, Boeser has also demonstrated an impeccable ability to bounce back from his injuries, and that’s just one of the many positive intangibles that he brings to the table. Boeser is a remarkable person on and off the ice, and there haven’t been the slightest hint of character issues since he was drafted. He proved against the Tampa Bay Lightning on December 18 just how dedicated he is to his teammates, and he undoubtedly has the squad’s respect.

Boeser does not appear to be the sort of individual who takes charge of a team, and that’s why he hasn’t been prominent in the discussion of the team’s captaincy. But when it comes to most other personal attributes, he’s a coach’s dream. Whenever his new contract is signed, the intangible considerations will be counted heavily in Boeser’s favour.

 

How Much Money? 

Based on his field of comparables, Brock Boeser should be expected to demand a cap hit equal to anywhere between 8.5 and 10.5% of the total salary cap.

In 2018/19 dollars, that translates to an average cap hit of between $6.76 and $8.35 million per season. Subsequently, a cap hit of $7.5 million seems like the safest middle-ground bet, though his superior offensive totals could easily justify a contract closer to the upper range.

How Much Term? 

Six years seems to be the going rate for players of Boeser’s age and ilk. Anything longer will require the Canucks to buy up more years of potential Unrestricted Free Agency from Boeser, and that will necessitate a higher cap hit. From Boeser’s perspective, a six-year deal allows him to cash in on another high-value contract by still being in his prime when this one expires—he’d be just 28 years old at that point.

 

Prediction 

Brock Boeser will re-sign for six years at an average cap hit of $7.5 million.

  • Killer Marmot

    The Canucks will have a ton of restricted free agents at the end of this season. Six or seven of them will be looking for substantial raises. The salary cap will have to be carefully managed.

    This means that Benning can not be extravagant. He’ll likely fight hard to keep the contract at $8 million or less.

    • Fred-65

      I have to believe that a capoligist would help. TO snagged Gilman ( they have an impending Cap problem too ) Vcr has this summer, Edler(UFA) and then Granlund, Motte, Leivo, Boeser, Goldobin, Hutton and Pouliot/MDZ Plus Nielson in net. Bust summer for sure. The difficult pafrt IMO is he (JB ) has signed 3-4th line players to substantial salaries. He needs cheap re-enforcement to fill out the roster, such as MacEnemy, Sautner, MacEwen, Dahlen and Jasek to come through big time. For what it’s worth some of those guys have to get a look so there a good idea if they ca do the job next season at a cheap price

        • speering major

          Yeah, I don’t understand these discussions. The only players the Canucks NEED to sign are Boeser and Petterson. They have a ton of room. Everyone except Horvat has 3 years or less. The team already has a ton of cap space and vets will be rolling off the book. Obviously Benning can’t keep tossing money around every summer. It the Canucks won the lottery then Eriksson, Beagle, Roussel, etc would all be off the books when his ELC expires.

          Sorry but the cap isn’t a concern unless Benning keeps spending. To those that think he just throws money around for the sake of it, ask yourselves who the Canucks would be icing if they didn’t sign a bunch of players? He needed to ice a NHL hockey team. On top of that, those players costed zero assets and may get a small return if he moves them. Even after all these signings the team still has a ton of cap space. There’s always room for criticism but it seems like most of the critics have lost the plot

        • Killer Marmot

          I can do the math and I disagree. It’s manageable, but they must be careful.

          Their RFAs will be asking for maybe $15 million in raises, which leaves the Canucks short by about $5 million. If they lose Edler, Del Zotto, and Nilsson then they have about $5 million in cap space. But they have to replace those players, making it tight again.

          At a minimum, they might not be able to offer Edler an extension.

          • Defenceman Factory

            Well that might be math but it sure would be bad management. The situation is easily managed. Del Zotto will not be re-signed. If Poulliot is re-signed he won’t get a raise. Hutton might get a small bump. One of Leivo or Goldobin should be traded. Nilsson should’t be resigned. Granlund might get a small bump. There is no need to spend more in Utica with the ability to move one or two veterans onto AHL contracts.

            That leaves one of Leivo or Goldobin, Motte, Demko and Boeser getting raises.With at least $5.5 million coming off the books in Del Zotto and Nilsson, nearly $8 million in existing cap space and a projected increase of $2-3 million and at least some IR relief the Canucks have over $16 million to work with and should be able to do all the raises for around $13 million.

            Even if Edler is re-signed it should be for less. Tanev, Gagner and Schaller come off the books the following year. The Canucks will need to move out at least one of Ericksson, Sutter or Gudbranson to stay comfortably under the cap.

          • Killer Marmot

            A decent middle-six hockey player — Motte, Granlund, Leivo — should expect about $2.5 million. Goldobin may hit 50 points this year, and in arbitration could get $3 or $4 million. If the Canucks lose Edler then Hutton will be in an excellent position to get at least $1.5 million more; yes, even with Hughes expected in the lineup. To keep Edler will cost $4 million if they’re lucky.

          • Sandpaper

            Using capfriendly numbers, the Canucks have 31.1 million in capspace for next season, plus the expected 2-3 million increase that Bettman suggested.
            Brock getting 7 or so plus any other re-signing still leaves lots of room.
            No worries here.

          • Defenceman Factory

            You are usually a reasonable poster. Not sure why you decided not to be today. I said the Canucks don’t have cap problems next year and they don’t. It would be mismanagement to give out 15 million in raises next year which seems to be the whole premise of the problem you created in your own head.

            The objective isn’t to keep every player and hand out raises until you create a problem. Do you really think Hutton should get 4.3 mil? Wow.

          • TD

            This would have more value broken down by player. Without it broken down, there is no context to agree or disagree with the numbers as each player negotiates separately.

          • Defenceman Factory

            Yep if you sign all the contracts you state the Canucks could create a problem they don’t need to and Benning should be fired. Goldobin at 4 mil, Hutton at 4.3, I think you are pretending there aren’t ways to avoid a problem.

            By your own numbers they are under the cap. Either Leivo or Goldobin signs for 2.5, the other gets traded. You don’t need to pay Granlund or Motte 2.5, Virtanen makes half that. It should be easy to come in around 76-77 mil. A further increase in the cap and some IR relief and there is lots of room.

          • Killer Marmot

            You’ve admitted there is a potential salary cap problem, which has been my point all along. Unlike you, I think they can accommodate all of their good young players at the end of this season if they play their cards right, which again has been my point all along. They just have to be careful.

            It’s increasingly apparent that you’re not debating in good faith, especially when you throw out the nonsense argument about Virtanen.

  • wojohowitz

    It use to be a young fella had to earn a big payday – like after 7 or 8 years in the league, but these days the CBA lets them demand the big money based on potential rather than results. Now it`s 2 or 3 years in and they want $6m-$7m. I`m probably too old school but I wonder what guys like Cherry or Burke (or even Betman) think of this situation where potential rather than results is the bargaining position of the players.

    • Defenceman Factory

      Hockey is a sport where a team’s best players determine a team’s success. Teams’ management and ownership understand this. It is teams out bidding each other that has driven the salary of young stars. A salary cap and contract limits were put in place to protect teams from themselves. Pay rates are not because of young players making big demands. Restricted free agency still helps teams pay way less than a free market would bear.

      I don’t reminisce for a time of ownership collusion and retired players being impoverished.

    • truthseeker

      It used to be a player got rewarded for what they accomplished in the past. Big contracts handed out for what you did before. Messier in Vancouver? It’s not great now…but it’s much better than the “old days”.

      It’s always going to be a gamble one way or the other unless contracts become completely incentive based.

      And really the young restricted players have no power. Teams just need to decide to say no to them.

  • Beer Can Boyd

    Draisaitl is over paid. 7- 7.5 million for 6 years seems fair, considering they’re going to have to pay Pettersen 10 mil per when his deal comes up.

  • argoleas

    It could be $8.5M-$9M/yr x 8 years, if they want to go full term (which could be in Canucks’ long-term interests).

    Is it too early to speculate on the monstrosity that will be Pettersson’s contract?

  • Puck Viking

    Im hoping we can get him signed for Nylander or Johnny Hockey money. 6 x 6.75 or maybe 7×7.

    Signing your young guys to cap friendly deals is almost as important as drafting them.

    Peteys contract will be interesting thats the one im hoping we can get locked up for like 8×8/9 and that he doesnt want McDavid money. The leafs long-term will have issues with Marner/Tavares/Mathews all wanting 10+ per season.

  • Kanuckhotep

    The landscape has changed in the NHL for salaries/contracts which contrasts from past practises. It’s probably better clubs give these young stars the big money now than older players. I say this remembering dumb deals made for Bobby Holik, Scott Gomez and Messier when he was here. (Lucic also comes to mind) If a kid doesn’t live up to contract he’s still young enough to flaunt for something but once a guy is 30ish forget it. Comparing potential to results is a fair observation but times have changed. So give Brock good coin and good term while he’s young and in his prime. You don’t want a Duncan Keith contract on a dying team.

  • petey 40

    Personally I find it in very poor taste to know what a player is earning and then putting it up for discussion/dissection among the public. I simply don’t care, it’s not my money.

    Bring back the days when player salaries were kept under wraps. It should be nobodies business but the individual involved, their families and the relevant agent. I believe the term is ‘noneya’.

  • LACANUCK

    One of the problems teams like the Oilers and Leafs run into, since they have been bad for soooo long, is a lot of high cap hits in a short time. Decisions must be made that are tough… Taylor Hall anyone.
    The Canucks have 8 mil in cap space with around 10-15 mil dropping off the next 3 yrs. Brock then EP then Hughes, presumably, need to be signed for long term. Having solid players like Jake, Olli, Gaudette and hopefully Dahlen or Lind keeps the cap manageable.
    Hopefully Thatcher pans out but that will be a longer look. The cap is fine right now so I don’t see a problem resigning all our future stars.

    • Dahlenfan

      Boeser is worth 7.5 a year in today’s market. I know he got hurt alot but his ppg is the highest on that list other than guadreau. He gets just under 7. With inflation that’s about 7.5. Its a ridiculous amount of money but hes earned it and hes a stud. Playing with petterson is only going to inflate those numbers and in 3 years its gonna be a great number. Just sign him 7.5 for 6-8 yrs and be done with it

  • truthseeker

    Yes, he’s “worth” that, but in my opinion it’s too high.

    You go to him and tell him that you want to build a competitive team (Gillis style) and you let him know that the team will not be giving out cap crippling contracts.

    Give him full 8 year term at 6.5 to 7 million per. He gets two extra years of guaranteed money. I don’t agree that it is viewed as “buying FA years” and that agents and players see that as a situation to demand more money. Traditionally teams giving extra years has been a way to lower over all value by providing the player stability.

    Any young player the canucks believe is going to be a significant part of the team, should be locked in as long term as possible to keep the cap hit as low as possible.

    I doubt this would ever happen but if he wants to hold out then let him hold out. Don’t crack like Dubas did. If he misses a season then so be it. Unfortunately for the players, they a will always be in the weak position due to their average career lengths. They’ll crack before the team will. And if they don’t, it will only take one season of not getting an NHL paycheck to make them realize they messed up.

    I don’t agree with the power NHL teams have over young players but it is what it is. The canucks should take full advantage over their young players by using all the leverage they have to build a deep team. They might not make many friends with their players but it will be effective and the players will play because they will want those big FA dollars later on.

    I suspect Benning is not that type though. Seems like too much of a “nice guy”.

    • Bud Poile

      “You go to him and tell him that you want to build a competitive team (Gillis style) and you let him know that the team will not be giving out cap crippling contracts. ”
      That’s not how it works. This scenario undermines contracts that follow so it is not tolerated by the NHLPA,nor wanted by lesser players who should never take less than their fair market value.
      The NHLPA stepped in on Kesler that marked an end to Gillis’ antics.
      https://theprovince.com/sports/hockey/even-nhlpa-corners-kesler-on-pay-cut-contract-comments

      • truthseeker

        That’s a public statement made from one player in the same union to “influence” other players and that’s why the PA had a problem with it. Now of course the PA wants players to always sign for as much as they want, but there is no rule that says a GM can’t dictate the terms of what contract they offer. And nothing in that article you posted says anything about the PA having an influence over Gillis. Gillis did get those guys to take less. Pretty much all of them aside from Ehrhoff. So I’m not sure what you’re talking about with that last sentence. If you have proof the NHL or the PA stepped in and told Gillis not to ask players for a “home town” discount then provide that, but what you did provide was not evidence to that effect.

          • truthseeker

            yep. And that was the one mistake of his strategy although a necessary one from his perspective at the time. If I recall correctly many of those guys were unrestricted FA’s so if the canucks wanted them NTCs and NMCs were the only way to get them to resign at a cheaper rate. It was worth it in my opinion. We saw the greatest canucks team ever and arguable one of the deepest teams in the modern NHL era. The 10 Hawks being one of the others.

            My strategy now doesn’t involve NTCs because the players we have are young and have no leverage due to the stupid amounts of control NHL teams have over young players. Offer Boeser 6.5 to 7 million over 8 years and tell him this is what he’s going to get. (in a polite way obviously…again stating the strategy of wanting the team to be as deep as possible). No NTC. No NMC. Basically take it or leave it. And if he pulls a Nylander (which he won’t because that’s pretty fair value anyway) then you let him sit out. He’ll crack first guaranteed.

  • Ty Webb

    Negotiations with Boeser will be centered around the 7th and 8th UFA years. 6M to 7M per for each of the first 6 years is reasonable, the UFA years are anybody’s guess…. 9M to 10M per year for a 40 goal scorer? My prediction (throwing numbers out my arse): 7 years 54 million. 7.714 AAV.