Confident Canucks’ Brock Boeser says “this is the year” he scores 30 goals
Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
By Michael Liu11 months ago
What does the 2022-23 season have in store for Brock Boeser?
It’s a question that has to be on the minds of Canucks fans. The American winger burst onto the scene in his rookie year, winning All-Star MVP and becoming a finalist for the Calder Trophy with 55 points in 62 games. Boeser’s wicked wrister and mighty slapper gave him the look of one of the best driving offensive forces in the league.
Until he wasn’t.
Ever since Boeser suffered an injury against the Islanders in late 2018, he hasn’t exactly looked the same. Yes, the point production stayed relatively consistent per game, but that play-driving ability was missing. It didn’t help that Boeser still struggled to stay healthy, yet to play a full 82-game NHL season in his career.
In 2020-21, Canucks fans got a glimpse of “rookie Boeser,” so to speak, as he was the lone bright spot on an otherwise miserable season. But the next year, he took a step back. Boeser’s off-ice problems with his father’s declining health have been well documented and more than explain the rough season he had on the ice. For someone who has as tight of a bond as Boeser does with his family and father, it was no wonder that his attention was divided.
It was impressive that he still put up 46 points in 71 games under the duress he was facing. Boeser touched on this during his media availability at training camp earlier yesterday.
“Last year was obviously a very tough year [on me] mentally,” he said. “I’m not a guy to really talk about that stuff … to try and make an excuse or anything.”
He was well supported by his teammates and family after Duke’s eventual passing. And, in his own words, it’s brought about a bit of peace.
“There’s just not as much to worry about, so I can really focus on hockey,” Boeser said, though his relatives would never be far away. “My mom’s gonna be able to travel and see me play in a lot of places and come out here so you know, that’s really exciting for me.”
But the question remains.
What can we expect from Brock Boeser moving forwards?
At the age of 25, he isn’t exactly a young gun hotshot entering the league with boundless potential. This will be his 5th season in the NHL. Boeser will want to deliver on the promise that he showed in his rookie season and the seasons that followed. Reaching his potential represents a critical point not only for his career but for the success of the franchise.
The good news is that last year should be taken with a grain of salt, or rather with a heavy dose of context. Not only did Boeser have to contend with his ailing father, but on the ice, the winger’s shot just wasn’t working. His 11.8 shooting percentage was below his career average of 13.2 while still maintaining 41.0 expected goals for.
However, the other side is that Boeser needs to deliver tangible results. For someone lauded with an elite shot, he’s yet to crack the 30-goal barrier.
That’s something he wants to change this season.
“I obviously took some time away and kind of regrouped… then once I got back, I had a fresh mind and worked extremely hard,” Boeser said. With that offseason work comes a new target — breaking through the 30-goal plateau.
“This is the year,” Boeser said when asked about hitting the 30-goal mark.
It’s potentially the best possible opportunity to do so, and it comes at an opportune time for Vancouver. Fans, and possibly the team itself has been waiting for Brock Boeser, the elite triggerman, to blossom. While yes, the forward corps has plenty of production on paper, having Boeser at his best would open up a myriad of options. It gives gravity to that left side of the powerplay, it allows Bruce Boudreau to spread out the offence, and it gives the Canucks more depth and quality in their lineup.
But that stuff is all obvious.
A refreshed, reenergized and refocused Boeser is one that the team sorely needs. Not just for the production, but the presence he has. His teammates know how much he has been burdened with last season. They’ve seen him struggle and persevere in the face of personal tragedy.
Having him back to his old self, or even perhaps a better version of himself, will be a breath of fresh air.
Boeser is confident that he’ll reach his target. He replied near instantaneously when asked if this was the year for him. With an offseason to regroup and get his mind back where it needs to be, there’s a very good chance Boeser can deliver on his statement.
The Canucks are hoping that’s true too.
The run under Boudreau that saw the Canucks come up just short has stoked that fire in Boeser. He knows that this team can do it, and what the standard should be. Brock will be aiming to take his own next step, to help Vancouver make its leap into the postseason.
“We’re picking up where we left off and we all know that we need to make the playoffs this year.”
“There’s no excuses.”
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