2023-24 Vancouver Canucks prediction: The year that Brock Boeser finally scores 30 goals
Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
28 days ago
At training camp last year, Brock Boeser felt confident that 2022-23 would be the first season in which he potted 30 goals.
“This is the year,” Boeser told reporters in Whistler about hitting the elusive 30-goal mark.
Boeser gave that quote not long before suffering a hand injury at training camp that required surgery to repair. Boeser, originally given a timeline of three to four weeks, was back roughly two weeks later in time for the Canucks’ season opener against the Edmonton Oilers.
“Obviously you don’t want to be injured. I was looking so much forward to the pre-season and I was feeling good,” Boeser said. “It’s hard not to let it affect you. But I tried to stay positive and did everything I could to get to this point to be able to play [in the season opener]. So that’s a plus and I’m looking forward to getting out there.”
The scar from Boeser’s September surgery opened up just weeks later, causing Boeser to miss the final week of October and the first week of November after appearing in just six games with four assists to his name.
The hand injury to Boeser is far from the first speed bump that the 26-year-old winger has faced in his NHL career. In his first season, Boeser was sent into an open bench door and suffered a back injury that required surgery to repair. To that point, Boeser was a favourite to win the Calder Trophy, and was at 29 goals with 20 games left in his rookie season.
Boeser’s best season since came during the 2021 “bubble” season, when the Canucks competed in the all-Canadian North Division. Boeser was by far the Canucks’ best forward that season, potting 23 goals and 26 assists through 56 games played. Unfortuantely, the 2021 season was shortened to 56 games, so despite Boeser having finally managed to stay healthy for the entirety of a season and score at a goal pace above 30, Boeser still has yet to score 30 in his NHL career.
Certainly thanks in part to the hand injury, Boeser wasn’t himself to start this season, and from there, it felt like he was playing a bit of catch up. Throw in the overly drawn-out Bruce Boudreau situation that affected the entire Canucks’ roster in a negative way, and all of a sudden, Boeser found himself moving all over the lineup with no clear role and not much to play for. Upon Rick Tocchet’s hiring, the Canucks’ new bench boss was honest with both Boeser and the media about what needed to change in the winger’s game for him to find success.
“Last couple of games I’ve seen some stuff that Brock needs to do,” head coach Rick Tocchet said to The Province. “There were a couple of wall battles that he won. He’s that type of guy. He’s got to get a little bit better on the forecheck and he could be a really good player for us. This is a big summer for him too.”
Under Tocchet, Boeser went through a 20 game stretch where he tallied 18 points — a production level he’d certainly to keep up with over the course of the 2023-24 season.
Boeser was open that at the end of the year, he felt excited for what was to come with the Canucks. He informed Patrik Allvin that he would prefer to not be traded after his agent was granted access during the season to help facilitate a trade out of Vancouver. He didn’t play in Da Beauty League — what some view as a glorified beer league — and instead put an emphasis on his preparation for next year under Tocchet’s guidance.
Now, any Boeser prediction should come with a loud and exaggerated knock on wood, and we can almost guarantee Boeser won’t give a similar quote stating that this is the year he finally hits 30. But given everything he’s been through already in his young career and where Boeser was at to finish the year, I feel confident in predicting that this is the year he finally does it. Don’t worry, I knocked on wood as I wrote that sentence, and I would encourage you to do the same having just read it.
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