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Canucks Prez Rutherford: ‘We Can Afford to Keep Brock Boeser’

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Vancouver Canucks, Brock Boeser
Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser.

Multiple theories have been thrown around regarding the future of Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser, including one that suggests he’d have to be traded or negotiated off his $7.5-million restricted free agent qualifying number.

Canucks President of Hockey Operations Jim Rutherford told VHN Wednesday that’s simply not the case.

“Based on all of the scenarios that we look at, we can fit his qualifying offer into our budget for this year,” Rutherford said. “We are definitely not pressured to trade him for financial reasons.”

This is not to suggest that the Vancouver Canucks will reach the point of qualifying Boeser, the deadline is 5 pm eastern on July 11th, nor is it to suggest any decisions have been made on the player’s future with the club.

“He’s a good young player that didn’t have the type of year that he or the team expected him to have,” Rutherford added. “Now we just have to move forward with whatever way it works out.”

As we explained in our ‘roll call’ series, Boeser is arbitration eligible, a process desirable to avoid, and the Canucks or any NHL team that trades for him can negotiate off that hefty salary number, which likely means offering a longer term deal at a smaller cap hit. From a team’s perspective, keeping him at the larger number would likely mean a shorter deal and a wait and see approach long term.

Another wrinkle, Boeser reaches unrestricted free agent status after two more seasons.

Boeser is only 25-years-old, he’s had 20-plus goal seasons four of his five years in the NHL with 29 his rookie season, and injuries and his seriously ailing father provided setbacks and distractions throughout the 2021-’22 season. He finished with 23 goals and 23 assists in 71 games.

“We’ll see how it plays out, we’ll see what works,” Rutherford added, “see what works for him and works for the team. That’s how you make a fair deal, how can you make it work for both sides. That’s the approach we’ll take.”

One can read between the lines if they desire, but it does appear that the Canucks will take a run at finding a common ground with their popular winger.

It’s the most pressing early summer salary issue for the Vancouver Canucks as Boeser is the team’s highest profile free agent. While potential new salaries for forwards JT Miller and Bo Horvat involve bigger financial figures — their deals expire after the 2022-’23 season — those resolutions can happen a bit further down the road.

VHN Managing Editor Rob Simpson has been covering the NHL for three decades on live TV, radio, and as a journalist. He worked his first ever game getting postgame sound as a teenager; it was Vancouver vs. Detroit.

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