With Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi out of the lineup for the foreseeable future, it seems like there is only one player scoring goals for the Canucks. We aren’t talking about the Sedin twins or Loui Eriksson. Heck, we aren’t even talking about a veteran player.
We’re talking about rookie dynamo Brock Boeser.
What Boeser is doing for the Canucks right now can’t be underestimated. On a team that has and was labelled as one who would struggle with scoring, Boeser has been a saviour.
Seriously, who else would be scoring goals for the Canucks right now? In the three games since Horvat got injured, Boeser has scored three goals, one in each game. The team collectively over the last three games has four goals.
Where would they be without Boeser? Laughing stock of the league? Shutout by the opposition every night? Boeser’s recent production begs the question, how much of an impact is he having on his team compared to other rookies in the league?
Despite no Connor McDavid or Auston Matthews, this current crop of rookies is nothing to sneeze at. To score at over half a point per game as a rookie in the NHL is impressive enough, and the top 15 rookie scorers at the moment have all achieved that.
For this exercise though, we want to see which individual rookie is having the biggest impact on his team. The top five rookie scorers at the moment all have more than 21 points. They are Boeser (28), Mathew Barzal (28), Clayton Keller (23), Alex DeBrincat (21) and Alexander Kerfoot (21).
Realistically, this is only a two-horse race in terms of team impact. Barzal, DeBrincat, and Kerfoot all play on teams that are in the top half of league scoring. That leaves Keller and Boeser, with both the Canucks and Arizona Coyotes trending towards woeful in the goal department. Not only has Boeser been leading rookies in goal impact, but he’s not far behind some of the top scorers in the NHL.
Sticking with the rookies, it’s clear that Boeser is having the biggest impact on his team in both contributing to goals and scoring them directly. Even though the Coyotes have scored fewer goals than the Canucks, Boeser is still having a more profound impact compared to his American counterpart Keller. There is still lots of time in the season, but Boeser seems to just keep getting better even with his linemates missing in action.
Rookie Watch or Superstar Showcase?
Is the rookie race affecting how Boeser should really be watched around the league?
Because he’s a rookie, most people focus on where his place is in competing for the Calder Trophy. Although there is still more time for others to catch up in the race, Boeser is starting to run away in the rookie derby. With that being the case, it might be time to look at Boeser compared to some of the other superstars in the league.
The chart above shows that Boeser is having the biggest impact out of all rookies. It also shows that he’s not far behind from the league’s elite. Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov are one and two league-wide in scoring. On a high-scoring Tampa Bay team, their direct goal impact trails Boeser’s.
Although Boeser is close, he isn’t quite there in terms of point impact among the players above. He does come within striking distance of Blake Wheeler, who’s fifth in points. He’s also right behind Alex Ovechkin, who has contributed to 35.4% of his team’s goals, just like Wheeler.
However, Boeser beats everyone in the NHL except for Ovechkin in just one category. Boeser has scored 19.5% of his team’s goals on the season, a number that cannot be underestimated. As a rookie, he scores nearly one in every five of the Canucks goals. That number could increase further because of injuries to the Canucks.
Ovechkin, by comparison, has scored 22.5% of his team’s goals. He is the only player ahead of Boeser in terms of direct goal impact. Boeser’s goal-scoring prowess shows that not only is he the Canucks MVP and front-runner for the Calder, but also that he’s hanging around with the league’s elite.