It’s a magic number for Canucks winger Brock Boeser: 30.
He’s never reached the 30-goal mark in an NHL season, having come closest his rookie season in 2017-’18 with 29.
On the Thursday of the weekend training camp in Whistler last September, he confidently responded to the query about getting to that number in 2022-’23.
“Is this the year?” he was asked.
“This is the year. That’s all I gotta say, this is the year.” Boeser repeated.
Instead, the somewhat of a nightmare that was 2022 for the Burnsville, Minnesota native continued.
Boeser lost his father that summer not long after the season ended; dad Duke succumbing to long-time illness. It was a situation that weighed heavily on the winger towards the end of the Canucks 2021-’22 campaign.
By last September, his reality had changed and his head had cleared.
“Obviously with my dad’s passing there’s not as much to worry about,” Boeser he told us at 2022 camp, “so I can really focus on hockey. My mom is going to be able to travel and see me play in a lot of places and come out here and that’s really exciting for me just seeing her a lot. And just being able to focus on the game now and help our team win is really exciting for me.”
But instead of cruising into the regular season with a head of steam, he injured his hand on the Saturday of camp before leaving the mountains. He was supposed to miss three to four weeks following surgery, but ended up missing just two, making it into the Canucks opening night line-up.
Despite the quick recovery, the delay and the injury set him back. He didn’t score his first goal of the season until November 18th when he tallied twice at home against the Los Angeles Kings. He’d then score seven goals over his next 23 games before going into a seven-game drought. At that point in early February, his overall season goal was again out of reach. He’d finish with 18.
Goals, shmoals, who needs them when you set a career high with 37 assists in 74 games. Boeser tied his rookie season point total of 55, 2nd most of his career. He had 56 in his sophomore season.
Fine. But you know what, it’s not. He’s supposed to be sniping. Boeser would like to put two big totals together. Others would also like to seem him do a bit more to justify a $6.65-million salary cap hit that continues this season and next.
He’s hypothetically hitting his prime at age-26.
Canucks Bounce Back
The Canucks will look for a Brock Boeser bounce back in the goal department. Or maybe it’s more of the same from the end of last season. He had a four-goal in five-game streak entering April and a goal in the next-to-last game of the campaign.
The media on hand last Friday in Victoria didn’t breech the topic of his personal performance. (We weren’t on hand.) A generic group interview led to Boeser faithfully speaking of the team and his potential linemates.
“Just the same as last year, we’ve gotta get in on the forecheck, turn pucks over and that’s how we create our chances,” he said. “Cycle the puck and keep getting those chances. I think we’re having the same mindset as last year and we’ve gotta build off it.”
He and his potential linemates J.T. Miller and Phil Di Giuseppe didn’t play in Edmonton on Wednesday night. leaving the distinct possibility we’ll see them tonight (Thursday) in Seattle.
Although winning and the team-first mentality always take precedence, Boeser finally reaching new heights in the goal department would go a long way to the hockey club reaching its next level. As in, the playoffs, something the team has done only once in Boeser’s professional existence.
Particularly depending on whom his other winger is, Brock Boeser needs to light the lamp.
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