The relationship between the Vancouver Canucks and Brock Boeser seems to have been dwindling for some time. After looking like a superstar in the making after his rookie season in 2017-18, he has slowly been on the decline ever since. The 2021-22 season was an entirely new low for the now 25-year-old, as he managed just 46 points in 73 outings. It wouldn’t be fair to mention that family matters had a big effect on last season’s struggles, but nonetheless, it seemed to spark the discussion that a change in scenery may benefit both parties.
That discussion has picked up in a big way in recent days. The reasoning comes from the fact that, prior to Saturday’s game versus the Arizona Coyotes, Boeser was expected to be a healthy scratch for the first time since his rookie season. That failed to happen, as he was put in the lineup due to Dakota Joshua suffering a late injury, but the damage was already done. Since then, trade rumors have been running rampant, and the Calgary Flames are believed to have shown interest.
Flames Have Checked In on Boeser
As first reported by Rick Dhaliwal of Chek News, the Flames have poked around on Boeser over the past few days. This is an interesting development, though one that isn’t all too big of a surprise given that Flames’ general manager Brad Treliving has been open about wanting to add another forward to his group since training camp began.
That desire to add another forward to the mix has only grown since the start of the season, as the Flames are struggling to find the back of the net. Their 72 goals rank 22nd amongst all 32 clubs, while their points leader Elias Lindholm has just 18 through 24 games.
It was believed weeks ago that the Flames had expressed interest in Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson, but they appear to have backed off that front. That was likely due to salary implications, as Anderson is on a lucrative deal that carries plenty of term. What makes Boeser a more intriguing option is that, while he does have a relatively expensive $6.65 million cap hit, he only has two more additional seasons remaining, compared to Anderson’s four.
On top of that, he is also the superior player, even with his recent struggles. From an offensive standpoint, Boeser has struggled to fill the back of the net in 2022-23 with just three goals but has still managed to be productive with 15 points in 19 games. The puck luck should change sooner than later, as he has scored north of 20 goals four times in his career, despite playing in more than 70 games just once.
Canucks Willing to Move Boeser for Less Value Than Expected
Also, going in the Flames’ favor in a potential deal is that he may not be as expensive of an asset as some would think. In fact, according to Elliotte Friedman on his latest 32 Thoughts podcast, the Canucks have gotten to the point where they are prepared to take less in order to free up some cap space.
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The reasoning behind this is that, according to Friedman, the Canucks brass is strongly considering dismantling their group, which could set them up for a rebuild. Another name that Friedman directly brought up on who they may look to move is starting goaltender Thatcher Demko, proving just how serious they are about potentially blowing things up.
Flames May Struggle to Find Cap Room
The biggest issue when it comes to the Flames acquiring Boeser is their cap situation. At this time, they have just over $1.2 million in cap space, which isn’t nearly enough to bring in the Canucks forward.
Of course, there is the fact that the Canucks are reportedly mulling over-blowing things up, meaning that they would perhaps be willing to take on an ugly contract for the short term. Dhaliwal said management is willing to take on a player in return for Boeser, preferably one in the final year of his deal. Could that perhaps make Milan Lucic a possibility going back the other way?
Lucic, who happens to be from Vancouver, is in the final year of a contract that carries a cap hit of $5.25 million. He has struggled immensely in recent years, particularly this season with zero goals and five helpers through 24 games. By all accounts, the Flames would be open to moving him, though whether or not the Canucks would be willing to bring him in remains unknown.
Whether or not it does end up happening, there is no denying that adding Boeser to this Flames’ roster would make them a better team. Not only that, but it could get the gifted winger’s career back on track, and help him blossom into the star talent many believed he was becoming years ago. What it would all come down to is whether or not general manager Patrik Allvin and his staff are willing to bring in the struggling Lucic on the final year of his deal in return. If they are, then Treliving should be doing everything in his power to make this deal happen.
Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Yahoo Sports, Las Vegas Chronicle, Oil On Whyte, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.