Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Canucks: Brock Boeser’s season wasn’t as bad as people made it out to be
8 months ago
For the past few offseasons, Brock Boeser’s game has been analyzed with a comb far too fine for the role player he’s become.
Most of the criticism the 26-year-old continues to face is that he’s not shooting the puck the same way he did his first year. A comment about Boeser’s drop in productivity would hold more weight if it was the result of an off-year, or temporary stint, much like Elias Pettersson’s start to last season was. After all, when a star player doesn’t meet expectations, questions should, and will, be raised.
But in Boeser’s case, these reduced point totals have become his new benchmark season after season, and yet, year after year, people are genuinely surprised when Boeser doesn’t reach 60 points, when he hasn’t ever hit that milestone in a single season yet. Boeser’s game is not without its flaws, but in terms of production, which is where he receives the majority of flack, he’s been improving: just as he said he would. By placing so much emphasis on his rookie year, Boeser’s growth, including the nine extra points he accumulated this season from last, is totally undermined. Instead, Boeser’s 50-point plateau is the subject of concern when his -20 plus/minus on the season, the second worst on the team, sticks out like a sore thumb.
Boeser’s not in denial either. He knows he’s underachieving with the talent he has. But is he really underachieving on the team? Is Boeser’s lack of productivity hindering the team more than the next player? No, because he’s not the team’s number-one forward anymore. He hasn’t been since the arrival of Elias Pettersson.
When Pettersson got injured during the 2020-21 season, Boeser led the team in points and goals, both even strength and powerplay. When given the opportunity, Boeser can be the guy. But that’s not who he is on the team right now, and he’s not being played like such either. Boeser logged a career-low in average ice time this season. In comparison to his former Lotto Line teammates, Boeser is logging three minutes less of ice time.
Reduced ice time; reduced role; reduced point total.
But what about Boeser rounding out the top five on the team in points and goals? Finishing fourth in assists, and third for shots on net.
How about personal bests in even-strength assists, blocks and hits?
These are far from throw-away seasons for Boeser. He’s done what’s asked of him: nothing more, nothing less.
And while the Canucks would love for Boeser to be right up there in points with Miller and Pettersson, they aren’t banking on it either. They have their 100-point scorer in Pettersson and finished in the top half of the league for goals. If anything, the Canucks wouldn’t mind spreading out scoring amongst the team a little bit more, to have more than just Boeser sitting in the 50-point range.
Rather than shoot for the moon when it comes to Boeser’s productivity, fans should taper their expectations. Consistency may not be as exciting or flashy, but it’s hard to come by and maintain in the NHL.
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