Canucks: What to expect from Brock Boeser in the playoffs

VANCOUVER, BC - NOVEMBER 16: Brock Boeser #6 of the Vancouver Canucks skates with the puck during NHL action against the Colorado Avalanche at Rogers Arena on November 16, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, BC - NOVEMBER 16: Brock Boeser #6 of the Vancouver Canucks skates with the puck during NHL action against the Colorado Avalanche at Rogers Arena on November 16, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images) /

Brock Boeser is yet to know what it’s like to play a game in the NHL playoffs, but when hockey returns he’ll be ready to score goals for the Vancouver Canucks.

The verdict on whether or not Brock Boeser had a solid year for the Vancouver Canucks couldn’t possibly be more split. And there’s definitely some good reasoning behind it all. Certain fans are ecstatic that Boeser was able to improve some weaknesses in his overall defensive game, while others believe Boeser to be a pure goal-scorer, and the fact that he only had 16 goals this season was clearly unacceptable.

One thing that brings these fans together though is the fact that they can both agree that Boeser needs to stay healthy. Four seasons have come and gone now for the 23-year-old from Burnsville, Minnesota, and it’s time he proves he can handle a full season of professional hockey. A good starting point for him would be to have a good and solid performance in the 2020 play-in series versus the Minnesota Wild, get past them, put up goals like he has before, and above all, stay healthy. The Canucks need him at his best if they want to get past the Wild.

Playoff Experience

When it comes to NHL playoff experience, unfortunately for Boeser, he doesn’t have any. Since being drafted by the Canucks 23rd overall in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Vancouver has failed to be a winning team and as a result, they’ve missed the playoffs every single season for four straight years. Fortunately, that ends now.

But until Boeser returns for the playoffs this year, his only experience in that regard would be from winning the NCAA Division 1 National Championship in 2015-16 when he played for the University of North Dakota. Boeser had a dominant campaign that season managing to put up 60 points (27 goals, 33 assists).

Leading his team all the way to the finals, Boeser capped the year off with a four-point game versus Quinnipiac Athletics University to capture the championship. His one goal and three assists added up to be quite a brilliant performance, honestly probably one of the best high-pressure moments of his young career. He signed with the Canucks soon after and began his NHL career by scoring the game-winning goal in his hometown.

What to expect

The Canucks’ firepower would have been near full-force the night Boeser returned from injury on March 8th, 2020. Unfortunately for everyone involved, that was also the last night any sort of regular-season games would be played this year. COVID-19 shutdown professional leagues across the globe and fans never got to see what the addition of Tyler Toffoli to the team’s top-six could have done.

Now, however, the league has loosely mapped out a return to play for sometime in August, and by then the entire Canucks roster, including Boeser, should be fully 100% healthy and ready to go. For Boeser, hopefully, that means no more nagging wrist injury, and a lot more opportunities on the man-advantage to score goals.

He was most effective this season as a part of the “Lotto-line”, so it’s likely Travis Green decides to put him where he’s comfortable. If it works, don’t fix it. The same goes for the power play. Let him quietly get situated and comfortable in the offensive zone. J.T. Miller, Elias Pettersson, and Quinn Hughes leapfrogged him as the trigger man of the power play, so it’s the perfect time to go back to him let him sit open in the slot.

Knowing that the Canucks best right-winger will see his fair share of hard-fought minutes matched up against the Wild’s top talent, it’ll be an interesting storyline having Boeser, a player from the state of Minnesota himself, face-off against another Minnesota-native in Zach Parise. Both players are greatly important to the success of their teams, and whoever has the better five-game stint likely ends up on the winning side of this series.

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For Boeser to get back to his scoring ways, he’ll need to figure out his wrist shot on the power play. With Pettersson unleashing an Ovechkin-like one-timer all over his opponents this year, opposing teams won’t expect the Canucks to turn to an open Boeser for the finish.