The 2022-23 season presents a great opportunity for Vancouver Canucks forward Brock Boeser. With trade rumours gone after signing a three-year deal worth $6.65 million in average annual value (AAV) this past offseason, the 25-year-old winger won’t have to deal with continuous chatter about whether or not the Cancuks should deal him from fans and the media. He is also fully healthy, which should allow the former first-rounder to play to his maximum potential.
Boeser’s 2021-22 Season
The 2021-22 season was a difficult one for Boeser on and off the ice. After a slow start to the season, he finished with the lowest points-per-game total of his career. Before rushing to judgment about last season, it is important to note that there were a lot of distractions off the ice in the form of his father’s illness that played a factor in his on-ice production.
Focusing on the positives, Boeser picked up his game once Bruce Boudreau took over behind the bench. He finished first in power play shots and second in overall shots on goal. As for his point production, it saw a rapid increase from 0.52 in his first 23 games to 0.73 in his final 49 games. It was clear that the coaching change benefited him and helped him return to the scoring threat Canuck fans have become accustomed to.
Where Boeser thrived last season was on the power play. He finished second on the team in goals with 11 and fifth in points with 17. What was even more impressive is that he was able to have this success despite being relegated down to the second unit at times, which on some nights would rarely see the ice. With some strong offensive additions to the lineup in Andrei Kuzmenko and Ilya Mikheyev, he should once again have another strong season on the power play, even if he is placed on the second unit.
Where Should Vancouver Play Boeser in 2022-23?
Predicting Boeser’s spot in the lineup is tricky. There are a few options, but a good place to start is the “Lotto Line.” This line, alongside Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller, was a big reason Vancouver was able to beat St. Louis during the 2021 NHL Playoffs. Below is how the trio did together and apart at five-on-five last season, according to Natural Stat Trick.
|Minutes||Corsi %||Goals||Goals For %||Shots For %|
|Elias Pettersson + Brock Boeser||279:39||53.20%||9||47.37%||49.33%|
|J.T. Miller + Brock Boeser||418:31||53.68%||19||55.88%||51.04%|
Although fans have fond memories of the “Lotto Line,” last year showed that the once-dominant trio may not work anymore. If he is not traded, it looks as though placing Boeser on a line with Miller and a player like Connor Garland or even Vasily Podkolzin may be the best option. The good news is that if this line doesn’t work, he has strong chemistry with Pettersson, which gives Vancouver options in shuffling around their top-six.
The other option is to put Boeser beside Bo Horvat and Tanner Pearson. The issue here, however, is that there is no real playmaker on the line. All three players have played well when on lines with each other, but they always have a playmaker to complete the trio. This combination would be intriguing to watch for a few games, but in theory, may struggle as they are missing a play-driving playmaker who can set them up for scoring chances.
Prediction for Boeser’s 2022-23 Season
30 Goals/ 35 Assists/ 65 Points
There are a lot of factors that go into predicting how Boeser will perform in 2022-23. Some include if Miller will be traded or how much first unit power play time he will get. Based on the way he played near the end of the season, it is fair to predict that he will finally eclipse the 30-goal mark. He was close with 29 during his rookie season before injuries knocked him out for the year, but this should be the year he joins the 30-goal club.
As for assists, 35 is not out of the realm of possibility. He was on pace for 35-plus during both the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons, but neither campaign was the normal 82 games due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that he is healthy, doesn’t have to worry about trade rumours and has an offensive-minded coaching staff behind him, he should be close to having a 65-point season.
Career Year Could Be Incoming for Boeser
Boeser is a very talented goal scorer who should be part of the Canucks’ core for many years to come. He is not the flashiest player in the world but gets the job done night after night. 2022-23 presents him with a great opportunity to bounce back and put up a career-best season statistically. Canucks PA announcer Al Murdoch should get ready, as he will be calling out “No. 6, Brock Boeser” many times this upcoming season.