Early estimates for a Brock Boeser extension with the Vancouver Canucks

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Stephan Roget
23 days ago
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We are two weeks out from the Free Agent Frenzy of July 1, 2024, and most of the attention in Vancouver has rightly been allocated to those free agents that are either pending departures or potential arrivals.
But there’s something else that happens on July 1, besides various players hitting free agencies. Those players entering the final year of their contract become eligible to sign an extension on that date, too. For the Canucks, this means a couple of players, but most prominently Brock Boeser.
We should clarify that Boeser only becomes eligible to sign an extension as of July 1. There’s no guarantee he signs an extension on or near that date, and with his health still a little up in the air after exiting the playoffs with a blood-clotting issue, we might even call a summer extension unlikely.
Boeser is still under contract at a $6.65 million cap hit for the 2024/25 season. The Canucks might rightly wait until Boeser is back on the ice in September to really start talking extension. But he will have to be signed at some point between this July 1 or next July 1, at which point he’s set to become an unrestricted free agent.
Which means it’s probably high-time to start estimating what that contract might look like.
We can start with some basic ground-floors. Boeser is coming off a career season of 40 goals and 73 points, and the cap is going up, so even if the 2024/25 season doesn’t go nearly as well and he doesn’t sign until after it, he’s still not very likely to take a pay-cut. Especially not after all those playoff heroics.
A $6.65 million AAV remains a bare minimum, then.
In terms of term, Boeser will turn 28 years old in February. There’s still plenty of tread left on his tires, but this will be his best chance to sign a big contract in his career, and he’ll be looking to sign something that takes him well into his 30s.
A five-year term seems like the least they would accept.
So, five more years at $6.65 million? Sold? Not so fast. Boeser is probably in line for more than that, all things considered.
One way we can provide a quick-and-dirty estimate is to check where Boeser ranks in scoring over the last, say, three seasons. Across that span, Boeser has played 226 games and notched 174 points, good for a tie for 80th place.
Right now, if we were to slot Boeser into the 80th-highest cap hit for a forward, it’s actually be a pay decrease of about $6.15 million. But that number will almost inevitably rise after a bunch of new contracts are signed this summer, and 80th place will be roughly equivalent to what Boeser makes now.
With injuries having been a factor so frequently so Boeser, one think that measuring by points-per-game might favour him, but that actually drops Boeser down to 86th place over the past three seasons, so we’ll leave that aside for now.
After all, hockey is very much a ‘what have you done for me lately’ sport, and what Boeser has done lately is miles ahead of what he’d done previously. How much of a factor will this 40-goal campaign play in negotiations?
A heavy one, especially from the perspective of Boeser’s camp. Because 40-goal scorers are rare.
Since the 2020/21 season and the dawn of the flat-cap era, there have been only 54 instances of a player scoring 40 goals in a single season, spread out across four campaigns.
Most of the league’s best, and thus highest-paid, players are on the list. As we comb through for Boeser’s lowest-paid 40-goal contemporaries, it’s tough sledding.
Zach Hyman only makes $5.5 million, but signed that deal when his career high in goals was 21.
Elias Lindholm was only making $4.85 million during and after his 42-goal campaign, but that’s on a contract he signed back in 2018.
Carter Verhaeghe signed his current $4.167 million deal right before he scored 42.
Same goes for Adrian Kempe and his $5.5 million.
And Jared McCann and his $5 million.
Everyone else who has scored 40 goals or more over the past four seasons was either already well-compensated, to the tune of a cap hit in excess of $7 million, or became well-compensated shortly thereafter.
These are no doubt the numbers that the Boeser camp will try to point to as they attempt to negotiate an extension that is, at least, in the neighbourhood of seven years at $7 million AAV.
This smacks us as authentic for a couple of reasons. One is that we can assume that Boeser will be chasing term in Vancouver, and aiming for the maximum number of years possible on this contract. Seven years, carrying him from ages 28 to 34 feels right. At $7 million, Boeser stays well under the compensation rate of linemate JT Miller, which feels appropriate.
But it’s admittedly hard to find comparables in this range.
Over the past three years, just seven NHL forwards have signed contracts with terms over five years and cap hits between $6.5 and 7.5 million.
Two of those forwards, Dylan Cozens and Matt Boldy, signed those contracts at the age of 22 and are thus fairly irrelevant to this conversation. Even the trio of Brandon Hagel, Troy Terry, and Tage Thompson signed theirs at the age of 25, which is a fair bit younger than Boeser will be when he signs his.
Nazem Kadri signed a seven-year, $7 million AAV contract two summers ago at the age of 31. Tom Wilson signed a seven-year, $6.5 million AAV extension just last summer at the age of 30.
None of these comparables fit neatly with Boeser. All of which combines into making it all the more tricky to land on a firmer estimate than our ballpark.
There are a lot of complicating factors at play. Boeser does have a history of inconsistency, and if he doesn’t sign a new contract before the 2024/25 campaign kicks off, that could become a major talking point – especially if he doesn’t get off to as hot a start this time around.
Boeser is a winger, which might reduce his value compared to a centre. Then again, he’s a goal-scorer, and that tends to be valued slightly higher than someone who produces an equal amount of assists. The playoff production ticks his value up, the frequent injuries tick it back down.
So, in lieu of more information, we’ll end by softening the bounds of our prediction a bit and leave it at that.
We predict that Boeser will sign an extension between five and seven years, and with a cap hit somewhere between $6.75 million and $7.75 million. The shorter the term, the higher the hit.
Beyond that, we don’t know enough yet to narrow it down.
We don’t know when negotiations will begin.
Maybe they already have.
We don’t know how the 2024/25 season will go, if negotiations continue on that far.
A down year from Boeser, and negotiations get tougher for his camp. Another 40-goal campaign, and suddenly they’re asking for a lot more with that pattern of consistency.
We don’t know how much the NHL cap will jump again for the 2025/26 season, but it is predicted to be another sizeable leap.
We don’t even know if Boeser is healthy enough to return to the ice, and that’s obviously the top priority as the offseason continues. Hockey and hockey-related finances come second.
So, maybe we’re guilty of jumping out ahead of this topic a little bit. But, then again, once this current Free Agent Frenzy dies down, the Boeser extension will become a major talking point…and will remain so until the ink is eventually dry.
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