By: Brayden Fengler / October 27, 2023
Fewer players in the NHL deserved to have as good of a start to this season as Brock Boeser. Boeser came out of the gate swinging, scoring four goals in the Canucks’ first game of the season.
Since Boeser’s display on opening night, his individual production and value to the team have remained at a high level. Can Boeser leverage this fantastic start to the year and turn it into a fantastic season overall? What does a top-performing Brock Boeser mean for the Vancouver Canucks this year?
Brock Boeser’s Last Season
Last season Boeser finished with a total of 55 points. This point production was a 9-point increase over the previous 2021-22 season; however, his goal-scoring took more of a back seat.
He only totaled 18 goals on the season. he was five goals short of his total during the bubble season in 2020-21 and only had two goals more than during the COVID-shortened season the year before.
At .74 points per game last year, Boeser was certainly finding his ways to stay relevant and helpful on the Canucks, but his hunger for scoring goals appeared to be missing. It was his only season on record (barring the Pandemic halted season) where he failed to pass the 20-goal mark.
On and Off the Ice
The Canucks have famously been a hot mess of a franchise over the last few years (both on and off the ice) and that can be a lot for any player to go through. The team has undergone significant personnel changes, such as the trading of former captain Bo Horvat.
Not long before Horvat’s trade, they overhauled management and brought in Patrik Allvin as the new GM. Boeser has also had to learn new systems in quick succession. Going from Travis Green to Bruce Boudreau and now to Rick Tochett all within a year of each other. It’s unfair to expect every player to handle those transitions smoothly.
Boeser’s more backstage approach to how he totalled his points last season can surely be attributed to some of those changes. But unique from any other teammate, last year Brock Boeser was also dealing with the realities of the tragic loss of his father Duke Boeser, who passed in May of 2022.
Boeser entered the team’s last training camp having to gear up to play his first season of NHL hockey without his Dad in his life. But beyond the loss itself, Boeser and his family were also long before dealing with the unique circumstances surrounding his father’s condition.
At the year-end presser that May, Boeser was quoted: “He’s not doing well… He has pretty bad dementia right now. It’s onset and it has gotten pretty bad this year. And it’s really hit me hard.”
Unfortunately, due to the prominence of a disease like dementia, there are likely many people reading this who can relate to the hardships it brings along with it and how long that can stick with a person. (I unfortunately can include myself in this category as well).
All this to say that Boeser had a lot to deal with before the start of last season, and the fact that he still managed to perform at the level he did is an achievement more impressive than many people will ever be able to understand. That, more than his four goals to start this year, really speaks to the strong player and person he is.
Brock’s on Pace
Brock has had an undeniably strong start to the year. Yes, he scored four goals in his first game, but beyond that, Brock has earned himself a point in every single contest since, barring the team’s disappointing loss to Philadelphia where the entire team laid an egg losing 2-0 to a physically dominant Flyers team.
Brocks’ first multi-point game didn’t come until the end of November last season when Boeser earned two goals in a meeting with the LA Kings on the 18th. Not only did Boeser double that in his first game this season, but looking once again at goal production Boeser is already 33% of the way to reaching his 18-goal total from last season.
Last year, he reached that threshold only just before the new year, when the Canucks visited San Jose on December 27th. Everyone check your calendars, it’s October right now.
Brock is currently on the unrealistically high pace of reaching 82 goals by the end of the season if he plays all 82 games. As fun as that sounds, we aren’t expecting it to happen. But as unrealistic of a pace as that is, six games into last season Boeser hadn’t recorded a single goal. It’s nice to see such a different start for Brock.
Sky’s the limit
Brock has spent the bulk of his time so far this season on a line with J.T. Miller and Philip Di Giuseppe, a line that has been dominating offensively with a total of 32 shots between the three skaters when they are on the ice together.
Boeser has also seen significant power play time on PP1, a trend that shouldn’t show any signs of changing. It is currently Boeser’s second-most deployed line this season. Having him play alongside Elias Pettersson and Andrei Kuzmenko, in addition to Miller. The team’s power play percentage is third in the league, humming along at 33.5%.
Boeser has had a lot to battle through, and it’s great to see him not only pulling through but pulling his team along with him.