Brock Boeser has heard his name mentioned in trade rumors, but the Vancouver Canucks forward said Thursday he believes he will remain with them to try again to win the Stanley Cup.”I don’t think I’m going to get traded, but obviously, rumors are going to happen and stuff is going to be out in the media,” the 23-year-old said. “I love Vancouver, I love the guys I play with, I love the organization, the fans, so I want to be a Canuck and I think our team is right there and we can win a Stanley Cup in the next couple years.
“I truly believe that, and I think our coaching staff and our teammates believe that as well. I want to stay in Vancouver.”
Boeser, who signed a three-year, $17.625 million contract (average annual value $5.875 million) on Sept. 16, 2019, has been the subject of potential trade talk, with the Canucks attempting to navigate an NHL salary cap that will remain at $81.5 million next season.
Vancouver general manager Jim Benning specifically addressed a rumor that Boeser, a native of Burnsville, Minnesota, could be traded to the Minnesota Wild.
“Lots of GMs call us about our players,” Benning told Sportsnet. “I listen, and sometimes we have a conversation. That’s my job as a GM. If I’m not listening to other GMs, then I’m not doing my job. But we’re not trying to trade Brock Boeser. I have not had a conversation with Minnesota about him.”
Boeser scored 45 points (16 goals, 29 assists) in 57 games this season, down from 56 points (26 goals, 30 assists) in 69 games last season.
He scored 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 17 games in his first NHL postseason but was held to one goal and two assists and dropped to the third line and second power play at times during a seven-game loss to the Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference Second Round.
Benning said Vancouver’s first priority is signing goalie Jacob Markstrom, who can become an unrestricted free agent after this season (Oct. 9); negotiations between the Canucks and Markstrom have already begun. Benning said keeping Markstrom and re-signing forward Tyler Toffoli and defenseman Christopher Tanev, who each can become an unrestricted free agent, would require trading other players.
Video: VAN@VGK, Gm5: Boeser provides quick response in 2nd
Vancouver also has five players who can become an restricted free agent: defenseman Troy Stecher, center Adam Gaudette, and forwards Jake Virtanen, Zack MacEwen and Tyler Motte.
Defenseman Quinn Hughes, voted a finalist for the Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year, sounded confident Tanev, his playing partner at even strength, will be back.
“Obviously, Chris is a huge part of the team on the ice and off the ice as a leader, and I don’t want to see him gone and I don’t think that will be the reality of the situation,” Hughes said. “I think [Canucks management] is going to do whatever they can to get Chris signed up, and the same goes for [Markstrom] and [Toffoli]. I think they’re going to do whatever they can because they realize the value those guys bring to the team.”
If the Canucks can keep their group together, Boeser and Hughes said they have plenty of confidence in a team that made the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2015 and won a round for the first time since 2011, when it lost to the Boston Bruins in seven games in the Stanley Cup Final.
Vancouver defeated the Minnesota Wild in four games in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers and eliminated the defending Cup champion St. Louis Blues in six games in the first round before losing to Vegas.
“We’re a young group, and just to be that close to the conference finals, it’s eye-opening,” Boeser said, “and I think our mindset next year, throughout the whole season is, ‘We can beat anyone,’ and I think we proved it in the playoffs and we felt that during playoffs too.
“We’re definitely going to be a confident group coming into next year and make another run at the Cup.”