Canucks: Dissecting Rick Tocchet’s comments on Brock Boeser’s positioning

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Tyson Cole
3 months ago
Vancouver Canucks fans are thrilled to see the re-emergence of their “BrockStar,” Brock Boeser.
Over the last four seasons, the hockey world has seen Boeser struggle to find the scoring touch he showcased in his rookie year, registering no higher than 23 goals in a single season. Already up to 24 goals through just 36 games this season, the Canuck winger is on track to shatter his previous season-high of 29 goals, set in 2017-2018. 
With only 18 goals last season and playing alongside the same centreman in J.T. Miller, what could be a factor for this massive jump?

Improved Positioning

Boeser has shown impressive awareness in finding the open areas this season, especially in tight in the offensive zone.
“He’s really good at finding that space. His awareness of where to go on the ice in the slot, he’s one of the best guys in the league,” Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet explained when asked about Boeser’s positioning in tight.
With data provided by NHLEdge.com, we can see that Boeser takes most of his shots within that high-danger scoring area and the high slot. Of his 98 shots on goal tracked on the website, 49 have come in those two areas.
Looking further into Boeser’s shot location, notice the progression of high-danger scoring and high slot shots on goal he’s shown. In the 2021-2022 season, 46% of his shots came from those areas compared to the 55% Canucks fans saw last season.
“He gets a lot of goals in that F3 position,” Rick Tocchet further elaborated on the positioning of his forward. 
The F1-F2-F3 position represents a line. F1 is usually the centre or whoever the puck carrier is. F2 sets themselves up in the front of the net, while F3 positions themselves in the high slot. 
Below is an example that further illustrates Tocchet’s analysis. Boeser positions himself in the high slot, then backpedals to create an opening where he gets a scoring chance off a one-timer. 
“He gets to that area quickly. When the pressure hits in defensive zone coverage, he can find that non-pressure area,” Tocchet explained. “It’s only open for about a second or two, and if you get there slower, it’ll close up.”
Of the 24 goals from the North Dakota product this season, 14 have come from the high-danger or high-slot scoring areas. This already ties his total from last year, and he still has 46 games remaining. 
Boeser has taken over the bumper spot role on the powerplay, the same area Canucks fans watched former captain Bo Horvat used to record 31 goals the previous season. 
The Minnesota native has a 29% shooting percentage in those high-danger areas this season. This is a big jump from a 12.5% shooting percentage last season. 
Brock Boeser currently sits third in the league for goals, five behind NHL leader Auston Matthews. The Canuck sniper is on pace for 55 goals, and fans will be looking for him to continue his success in the F3 position with his impressive positioning for the remainder of the season. 

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