The number of restricted free agents the Vancouver Canucks organization needs to make decisions on this off-season is in the double digits.
The top priority among the team’s RFAs is star winger Brock Boeser, but according to Sportsnet’s Irfaan Gaffar the two sides are not close to a deal.
Boeser is among the more accomplished players in the stacked 2019 RFA class that includes: Sebastian Aho, Mikko Rantanen, Mitch Marner, Matthew Tkachuk, Kyle Connor, Patrik Laine, Brayden Point, William Karlsson, Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc, Jakub Vrana and Travis Konecny…to name a few.
It didn’t take long for Boeser to show NHL fans he had a knack for the back of the net. He buried four times in his first eight NHL games after leaving the University of North Dakota and was the Calder Trophy runner-up in his first full season. His 0.42 goals per game over the past two seasons is the 25th-best mark in the NHL and he’s coming off a career-high 56-point season during which he scored 26 goals in 69 games.
It’s unclear at this point whether or not Boeser and the team prefer to negotiate a long-term contract or if either side would be willing to settle for a bridge deal.
Boeser is 22, the same age Bo Horvat was when Canucks general manager Jim Benning signed him to a six-year, $33-million contract two years ago when he was an RFA.
Nikolay Goldobin, Ben Hutton and Josh Leivo are among the other notable Canucks RFAs this year.
Veteran winger Loui Eriksson is currently the Canucks’ highest-paid player with his $6-million annual cap hit. In theory, Boeser’s cap hit should exceed that.