What a Canucks trade with the Devils or Wild for Brock Boeser might look like
Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
By Noah Strang7 months ago
When Brock Boeser first broke into the Vancouver Canucks’ lineup, he dazzled fans with a deadly shot and electric play. As a rookie, Boeser scored 29 goals and was the first of a new generation of Canucks to burst onto the scene. He inspired hope in a legion of Canucks fans who had suffered through the depressing mid-2010s.
Fast forward six years and Boeser’s development hasn’t gone the way that anyone would’ve predicted. He has yet to match that 29 goal mark set in his rookie season and has declined in productivity over time. His patented wrist shot has been seen less and less and that’s culminated in a disappointing nine goals through the first 42 games of this season.
The writing has been on the wall for some time now. It’s time for Boeser to get a fresh start with another NHL team.
He’s currently in the first season of a 3-year / $6.65 million AAV contract. As his numbers continue to fall off, that contract is starting to look worse and it might be increasingly difficult for the Canucks to move it. The organization has reportedly granted Boeser’s agent the opportunity to speak to teams and yesterday, he told Postmedia’s Ben Kuzma that he’s had conversations with the New Jersey Devils and Minnesota Wild.
Those two teams have been connected to Boeser multiple times throughout the past few years. If the Canucks do manage to come to terms with either the Devils or Wild, the natural next question is what they could get in return. Here are a few different scenarios that could work for each team.
New Jersey Devils
Option #1:To the New Jersey Devils: Brock Boeser (15% retained)To the Vancouver Canucks: Tomas Tatar, Seamus Casey, 5th Round Pick
This trade would see the Canucks shipping out Boeser and getting an expiring contract alongside a future asset. While retaining just shy of $1 million for the next two seasons isn’t ideal, it’s a small price to pay to make the money in this deal line up. That helps the Devils easily slide Boeser into their lineup as Tatar has a cap hit of $4.5 million.
Tatar is an unrestricted free agent this offseason, meaning that the Canucks could clear his salary off the books this summer. At 32 years old, he doesn’t fit the Canucks’ timeline but he makes the contracts line up and allows the Canucks to free up space after this year.
The Canucks also get Seamus Casey, a 2022 second round draft pick that has impressed since being drafted. Casey is still just 19 years old but fits a dire organizational need as a right-handed defenceman. He’s got amazing puck skills and is comfortable controlling possession on the back-end. He would instantly become the team’s top defence prospect.
However, Casey is also just 5’9″ and 161 pounds. With Quinn Hughes and Jack Rathbone already in the system, adding another small defenceman might not be ideal. On the other hand, Casey isn’t a player that lets his height define him and he’s produced at every level. At this point in time, the Canucks need to focus on adding talented players to their organization, no matter their position or archetype.
Seamus Casey PNHLe (Credit: DobberProspects)
The fifth round pick serves as a cherry on top for the Canucks to add to their draft capital and acquire another liquid asset.
Option #2:To the New Jersey Devils: Brock Boeser (10% retained)To the Vancouver Canucks: Damon Severson
The New Jersey Devils have plenty of excellent defence prospects including Casey, Luke Hughes, and Simon Nemec. This means that Severson, who’s 28 years old and an unrestricted free agent this offseason, is likely on the way out to make room for this youth movement.
Severson is currently an assistant captain for the Devils and is a right-handed shot. His contract carries a cap hit of $4.16 million but that will expire in a few months’ time. After 46 points in 80 games last season, he has managed just 16 total points through 49 games this year. Despite his offensive production slowing down, he’d still be the Canucks top right-handed defenceman the moment he arrived.
The Canucks retain a bit less of Boeser’s contract in this situation. They do so because Boeser has the two additional seasons on his contract while Severson has an expiring deal. This has been a trade that has been discussed a lot over the last few seasons. It seems to make sense in that each team adds a player at a position of need.
Other assets of interest: Alexander Holtz, Erik Haula, 1st round draft pick
The New Jersey Devils do have a few other interesting pieces that could be involved in a Brock Boeser trade.
To start, Alexander Holtz is a 21-year-old winger that was the seventh overall selection in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. After scoring 51 points in 52 AHL games last season, he’s found it difficult to earn a full-time spot in the Devils lineup. He’s a great young prospect but hasn’t impressed enough at the NHL level to be a regular contributor at this point in time. He would fit the Canucks timeline much better than the Devils and could be a major trade piece.
Erik Haula is another expiring contract on the Devils salary books. He’s making $2.375 million this season and will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. He could be a good addition to a Boeser deal for the Canucks to shed some salary and acquire a veteran to play down the middle the rest of the year.
Finally, the Devils still have most of their draft picks. They traded their third-round pick in the Ty Smith / John Marino deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins but besides that have a ton of selections. If they fancy themselves contenders this season, which they should considering their place in the standings, they could give up some future assets for a chance to win now.
Option #1:To the Minnesota Wild: Brock Boeser, 4th Round pickTo the Vancouver Canucks: Matt Dumba
The Wild make a ton of sense as a destination for Boeser as he’s originally from the Minnesota area. The most challenging part about this trade would be making the money work as the Wild have many long-term salary commitments, including paying the buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter until 2028.
In this deal, the Wild acquire Boeser. He’d instantly become a fan-favourite and help the team add a scoring touch to its top-six. With sniper Kevin Fiala departing the team last offseason, Minnesota finds a replacement in Boeser.
The Canucks would receive Matt Dumba. Still just 28 years old, Dumba’s play has fallen off and he’s no longer worth the $6 million he’s costing each season. However, this is the last year of his contract. The Canucks could give the right-handed defenceman an opportunity to showcase himself for an extension and let him walk if the money doesn’t make sense, opening a boatload of cap space.
In this hypothetical, the Canucks are giving up an extra draft pick to account for the fact that Boeser has an additional two years left on his contract. If they wanted, they could also retain a portion of Boeser’s contract instead of getting rid of the draft pick.
Option #2:To the Minnesota Wild: Brock Boeser (10% retained)To the Vancouver Canucks: Ryan Reaves, David Spacek, Daemon Hunt
This is a very different trade compared to the first one on this list. The Minnesota Wild were recently named as having the best prospect pool in all of hockey by The Athletic and this deal takes advantage of that fact.
The Canucks would retain 10% of Boeser’s contract to help make the money work. They would also take back veteran power forward Ryan Reaves who has a cap hit of $1.75 million. Reaves’ contract expires this offseason so the Canucks would be rid of him after only a few short months.
In return, the Canucks get two very solid defence prospects in David Spacek and Daemon Hunt. This would provide an instant injection of youthful talent into the prospect pool and give the organization something to look forward to on the backend.
Spacek is a 19-year-old, right-handed defenceman that has 35 points in 40 QMJHL games this season. He also had an excellent World Juniors where he helped lead Czechia to a silver medal with eight points in just seven games. His father, Jarsolav Spacek, played 880 games in the NHL.
Hunt is a left-handed defenceman currently playing in the AHL. Despite being a bigger body at 6’1″ and weighing 201 pounds, he’s a good skater that can keep up with attackers. This is his first full season of professional hockey after being captain of the Moose Jaw Warriors for the past two seasons and he has six points through 38 games thus far.
Neither of those two players is in the top tier of the Wild’s prospect pool. Thus, giving up both of them is an easier pill to swallow as they still have talent coming through the pipeline.
Other assets of interest: Jordan Greenway, Brock Faber, Carson Lambos, First round pick
The Wild do have some other assets that the Canucks could also go after.
Jordan Greenway is a big forward in the first year of a $3 million AAV / three-year contract. He’s scored just shy of a 0.5 points-per-game pace over the last three seasons but has just six points through 32 games this year. Still just 25 years old, he would be an interesting reclamation project for the Canucks.
Brock Faber and Carson Lambos are both defence prospects that sit a tier above Spacek or Hunt. While it may be more difficult to pry one of these players from the Wild, it would be well worth it as long as the Canucks didn’t add too much to the deal.
Finally, the Wild also have a bunch of draft picks over the next few years. Their 2023 third-round pick was traded for Nicolas Deslauriers, but besides that, they have full control over all the other rounds.
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