The Vancouver Canucks updates have been happening on a daily basis this month. Between the signing of Nikolay Goldobin, continuing negotiations with Brock Boeser, and Olli Juolevi‘s health concerns, and Bo Horvat declaring himself ready to be captain, it’s been a lively September for the team.
And that’s not even mentioning the new signings and where they might fit in once training camp starts.
Updates on Brock Boeser and More
It was a relief to finally see Juolevi play professional hockey in North America last season. Until that is, a knee injury stopped him 18 games and 13 points in. Originally announced as “a little bit of a knock” it turned into a few weeks recovery, then surgery, finishing his year. The schedule was for a six month recovery period after December’s operation, making him available for training camp this year.
Then the Canucks announced on Tuesday that he would not be attending camp, needing more recovery time. GM Jim Benning would later clarify that Juolevi would be attending camp, but watched closely. If there is any sign of the injury flaring up, he will be taken off the ice to rest.
Juolevi’s injury history has been very frustrating for the 21-year old prospect. “I was hoping to make an impact for Vancouver after Christmas. It was tough mentally, absolutely.” That might be optimistic this year, though not due to injury. The team has brought in NHL players for increased depth on the blue line, making Juolevi’s entry less likely.
Utica Comets coach Trent Cull is no doubt also hoping for a full season with Juolevi. Last year, he dressed 19 different defencemen, led by 70 games from 36-year old Jamie Sifers. Much of that would have been the responsibility of the Canucks themselves, going through 14 blueliners themselves. Many of Juolevi’s draftmates are well into their careers, increasing pressure on the team to get results from the 2016 fifth overall pick.
In interviews at the NHL/NHLPA meetings in Chicago, the 24-year old Horvat has said he’s ready to assume captaincy – if the team chooses him. Horvat has been widely regarded as the heir apparent for the past three years.
The Canucks went without a captain last season after Henrik Sedin retired in 2018. It’s been a difficult few years for the team, but Horvat remembers the example set for him.
“It definitely wasn’t easy[…] taking the heat every single day,” he recalled. “I kind of had that responsibility last year, so I got a little bit of practice.”
Goldobin’s signing Wednesday came as a bit of a surprise, as all the RFA talk has surrounded Brock Boeser. The team and he agreed to a one-way, one-year “Show Me” deal worth $900,000, keeping him out of the AHL. He started well last year on a line with Elias Pettersson, but as Pettersson’s numbers declined so did Goldobin’s.
He and coach Travis Green have often been in conflict, with Goldobin a healthy scratch for several games last year. Green wants him to work on producing a consistent effort game-to-game and improve his defensive awareness.
Still, the talented winger had a career-high twenty-seven points and will be returning to a more talented team. Whether that adds to his opportunities or keeps them from him remains to be seen.
If it has taken longer than hoped to sign Boeser, there is plenty of reason for it. Boeser’s father has been recovering from a stroke suffered just over a month ago. Duke Boeser has shown good signs of recovery since but has also had a recurrence of lung cancer this Summer.
Needless to say, GM Jim Benning has been willing to wait for his star during negotiations with agent Ben Hankinson. They have discussed different structures for Boeser’s second contract and he is optimistic they’ll be done before camp opens.
It would be easy to assume Boeser will get whatever he wants from the goal-starved team. Skilled as he is, though, he has yet to reach 60 points or play 70 games in a year. This is a consideration for a long-term or top-dollar deal from the team’s perspective. For Boeser, he doesn’t want to sign a deal that would leave him undervalued four years down the road.
Fans are hoping for more Vancouver Canucks player updates – especially on one particular contract – before training camp opens in Vicotria next week.
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