Brock Boeser is one of the few people who knows what Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson are dealing with because he’s been there himself. But the Vancouver Canucks star isn’t worried about his two teammates as training camp gets set to open without them under contract.
“Just going through it I wouldn’t say I would be concerned. I just think as everyone knows it’s just about finding a fair deal for both sides,” Boeser said in an appearance on Sportsnet Today on Sportsnet 650 Monday. “I think that’s what everyone strives to do, is find a fair deal. So whether it’s in a day or two or in a week I think they’re going to find a deal that’s fair for both sides … and I’m pretty confident that they’ll be here before the first game of the season so I don’t think we need to worry about that.”
Both Hughes and Pettersson, arguably the Canucks’ two most important players, remain without contracts as restricted free agents with training camp scheduled to open this Wednesday.
Asked about the negotiations by Sportsnet’s Iain MacIntyre last week, Canucks general manager Jim Benning said, “There’s no angry sides. We’re just trying to work through it to figure out how to make everybody happy.”
Boeser went through a similar situation in September 2019 when he also missed the start of training camp as an unsigned restricted free agent. Ultimately Boeser and the Canucks agreed to a three-year, $17.625-million contract on Sept. 16 — the day the Canucks played their first pre-season game that year — and the winger was in the lineup to start the season.
When asked to describe what it was like to sit and watch as his teammates began camp without him — as Hughes and Pettersson seem poised to do — Boeser didn’t mince words.
“It sucked, to be honest,” he said. “The first couple of days, I think everyone knows, with coach (Travis) Green is pretty hard so … it sucked sitting on the couch back home watching it. So I think that kind of pushed things along and kind of made it more (of a) reason for both sides to get it done.”
That contract Boeser signed is now in its final year and he will be a restricted free agent once again next summer. The 24-year-old is coming off the third 20-plus goal season of his career and could be in line for another raise if he keeps his production up. While he acknowledged that reality, Boeser said he is more focused on helping his team win than his contract status.
“Honestly, I haven’t thought about it much at all, I honestly kind of forget it was the last year of my deal,” Boeser said. “But you know I’m not really focused on that. I’m just focused on picking up where I left off last season. I feel that I had a pretty good year last year and I got to keep playing that way to help this team make the playoffs. If I play like I did last year I think things will take care of themselves.”
You can listen to Boeser’s full interview — where he talks about his off-season training and his thoughts on some of his new teammates — in the audio player below.