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2020 Canucks Top 25 Under 25: #3 Brock Boeser

The Canucks “forgotten star” is set to enter his fourth NHL campaign.

Vancouver Canucks v Vegas Golden Knights - Game Five
Brock Boeser #6 of the Vancouver Canucks looks on during pre-game ceremonies before Game Five of the Western Conference Second Round of the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff between the Vancouver Canucks and the Vegas Golden Knights at Rogers Place on September 01, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta.
Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

Welcome to the Canucks Top 25 Under 25 Rankings, the series that makes you wish you were under 25 again. The list includes all players born after January 1st, 1996. Five staff writers (Beggsy, Westy, CanucksAbbyFan2, Trevor Connors, Markus Meyer) and one former staff writer (Daniel Gee, Elite Prospects) cast votes for the project.

In many ways, Brock Boeser has become the Canucks’ “forgotten star.”

When he busted onto the scene during the 2017-18 season, he was the central focus of the Canucks offensive attack. He earned that right after scoring 29 goals and finishing as the runner-up for rookie of the year.

Fast-forward to the beginning of the 2020-21 season, and the spotlight on Boeser has been dimmed drastically.

Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes are now the central focus of oppositions scouting the Canucks. After them, J.T. Miller is the next guy on the Canucks de-facto Power Rankings chart, following his career-best year in the NHL.

You could even argue that Bo Horvat has a bigger spotlight on him in this city, after he torched the NHL playoffs with 10 goals in 17 games. Heading into the playoffs, you’d think that it would be Boeser — and not Horvat — who would have led the Canucks in postseason goals.

In general, last season was a bit of a mixed bag for Boeser. On the one hand, he helped form one of the best lines in hockey with Miller and Pettersson, and his 2.13 points-per-60 was a bonafide first-line rate.

On the other hand, one thing that Boeser got called out for in the media was his lack of goal production. He went goalless in his final 12 regular-season games. Boeser then scored four goals in 17 games during the playoffs, giving him four tallies in his last 29 games.

There are a couple of reasons why Boeser’s production has declined. For starters, Pettersson and Miller have alleviated the need for Boeser to be the hero.

That’s especially true with the man advantage. In Boeser’s first full NHL season, when he was the focal point of the power play, he had 21 points with the man advantage, and an individual points percentage (IPP) of 80.7%.

In each of the last two seasons, Boeser has posted an identical five goals and 13 points at five-on-four, with an IPP (the percentage in which a player registers a goal or an assist when they’re on the ice for a goal), below 60%. It’s clear that with Pettersson (and now Hughes and Miller) in the fold, Boeser is bound to see a reduced role. Although that’s not good for Boeser’s stats, that’s good for the Canucks.

At even-strength however, Boeser is still firing the puck with the same regularity, but his shooting percentage fell below 10% for the first time in his career. Boeser had an even-strength shooting percentage of 15.3% in his rookie year, followed by 13.3% in his sophomore season.

What’s Next for Boeser?

There’s no doubt that Boeser is a dangerous, first-line scoring winger in the NHL, even if he isn’t under the same spotlight that he once was.

However, he’s still an integral part of the Canucks success moving forward. That much is all the more true since Boeser appears to be glued to Pettersson and Miller on the top line for the foreseeable future.

Look for Boeser to improve on his even-strength shooting percentage this season, and creep closer towards that 30-goal potential (over a full season) that he flashed in his rookie campaign. He’s become a more well-rounded player over the last couple of seasons, and that drop in scoring last season could be nothing more than an unlucky mirage.

Catch up on the rest of our 2020 edition of the Canucks Top 25 Under 25 list.