The Minnesota Wild are looking for a replacement for Kevin Fiala. Well, look no further than the Vancouver Canucks' Brock Boeser. The Burnsville native can help keep Minnesota's playoff window open throughout these cap crunch years. He's exactly what the Wild need right now: a right-shot known for his lethal one-timer on the power play.
Fans may not have seen what a line of Matt Boldy, Marco Rossi, and Fiala could do. But if they ever saw one with Boldy, Rossi, and Boeser, that'd be pretty good, too. It'd make for a dynamic scoring line capable of playing with anyone. These three together, should Bill Guerin find a way to make it happen, would maximize Minnesota's Top-6.
Look at the other players competing for that spot alongside Boldy and Rossi. Between Freddy Gaudreau, Tyson Jost, Sam Steel, and prospect Adam Beckman, few of them are proven Top-6 material. On the other hand, Boeser has a track record as a fantastic scoring talent with 30-goal potential. Injuries have been his downfall, though. Can he benefit from a change of scenery? What if he could start over back in the state where everything began for him?
First of all, let's get some context on why Boeser could leave Vancouver in the near future. According to CapFriendly, the Canucks are over their cap limit by about $2.8 million. And with just 20 people on the roster, they may need to make more signings.
They just locked up J.T. Miller to a massive 7-year contract worth $8 million annually. He’s become an essential player to the Canucks’ core. Bo Horvat is likely going to be extended, probably on a long-term deal worth big bucks. After a 31-goal breakout season at 27 years old, the Canucks will invest much more than the $5.5 million they already pay Horvat.
Prospects such as Vasily Podkolzin will be off the books in 2024-25. Elias Pettersson is already on a bridge deal at $7.35 million. He becomes an unrestricted free agent the same year as Podkolzin. Pettersson is also going to get paid. Podkolzin looks poised for a breakout season after a 14-goal rookie season. He’s destined to score 20 goals this season. Pettersson is their most talented forward. There’s no way they’re going to move him.
On defense, Oliver Ekman-Larsson has the team’s third most expensive contract, taking $7.26 million for the next five seasons. They signed Quinn Hughes at $7.85 million for the next half-decade. Another hefty contract.
If you don't think Vancouver is going to squeeze Boeser out, just listen to GM Patrik Allvin:
Allvin left Boeser off of his list of core players. Boeser is looking increasingly replaceable the more you see the situation. YouTuber legorocks99 went into greater detail about the Boeser dilemma. He's a devoted Canucks fan who gives great insights about prospects and NHL news updates.
You can’t blame legorocks99 for saying the truth about Boeser. For five seasons, Boeser has averaged 23 goals and 50 points in only 63 games played. (However, he played the full 56-game 2020 season). You'd expect more production for someone who is supposed to be a core piece.
While the Canucks aren’t rushing to move Boeser, perhaps Guerin can put together the right trade. He could make an offer to help Vancouver compete now and have future assets under team control for the next three-plus seasons. Vancouver needs cap space, and the Wild have it.
Boeser has had a hard time establishing himself as a bonafide top-line player, but he’s only 25 with plenty of hockey left in him. Fifty points over 63 games is a pretty good pace if he can play in 80 games. If healthy, that's around 65 points, which means he can be trusted to produce for the most part.
Vancouver doesn’t have a lot of leverage in a trade. Boeser's injury history and inconsistency hurt that trade value, but he still plays an essential role for a Canucks team looking to make the playoffs. The Wild might not need to give up a top-tier prospect. However, they will need to offer at least a top-10 prospect to start things out.
If you want to go winger-for-winger, Boeser will make Beckman expendable for Minnesota to use as the centerpiece. Beckman is maturing by the minute and is looking to break into the NHL. Don’t pay too much attention to his AHL numbers; he played third-line minutes as a rookie for the Iowa Wild. Beckman is like a left-shooting version of Boeser if he can reach his potential. His 203 shots in 68 games last year indicate he’s ready to make an NHL push.
There are other moving parts to this. The Wild must move some salary to take on Boeser's $6.65 million. Maybe Vancouver wants a big salary like Matt Dumba's $6 million, with Minnesota retaining some. Perhaps they want smaller pieces like Jost ($2 million) or Jon Merrill ($1.2 million). Either way, there are plenty of options to make the money work. Guerin and Allvin can work the rest of the details out.
Boeser can bring both short and long-term success. He'd replace Fiala on a team ready to compete for a Stanley Cup, all in front of his home fans. And if Boeser's one appearance in the playoffs shows us anything, it's that he's a factor when May rolls around. In his postseason career, Boeser has scored four goals and 11 points in 17 games. He's capable of producing assists rather than just being a pure sniper. He has better playoff numbers than Fiala, despite playing fewer games. Boeser has scored 0.64 points per game, compared to Fiala's .43 over 35 games.
Ultimately, it's all about playoff performance. Boeser has also been more productive than Fiala in the regular season. Fiala took off recently, but in the last five full seasons, he’s averaged 53 points over 72 games. Maybe Fiala's 0.74 points per game vs. Boeser's 0.79 aren't much different, but Boeser has the slight edge.
Boeser would help Minnesota compete with teams like the Colorado Avalanche, who won the Stanley Cup last year and are just getting started. It's worth noting that Boeser is available around the time Minnesota has a great prospect pool.
After struggling to get the best of the best opportunities in Vancouver, Boeser would be in a perfect spot for a breakout. He'd be home; if he turned into a star player here, that'd be an incredibly energizing experience. Boeser has never had a GREEF line to take the tough minutes, and he wouldn't be the focus of defensive attention with Kirill Kaprizov around. He would have elite playmakers in Boldy and Rossi and could just focus on scoring.
Boeser would also give prospects more time to develop into their roles when they reach the NHL. He has the perfect contract through the cap crunch years. Boeser is cost-controlled, with a $6.5 million salary until summer 2025, when the worst of the buyouts expire. If anything, Guerin should think about an extension.
The best years are still set to come for the Minnesota-born kid. Getting Boeser makes Minnesota's power play more lethal and deadly, whether he's on the first unit or a dangerous second power play. If executed well, Boeser could launch the Wild's special teams to elite status.
With Boeser, the Wild have a lineup that's not just ready to compete but even better than last year's 113-point team. A complete roster, led by a deep forward group, a strong defense, and Hall of Famer Marc-Andre Fleury in goal. Bringing Boeser home just feels right. With Vancouver's vulnerable and Boeser at a crossroads, Guerin should pounce.