The Calgary Flames are reportedly among those asking about Brock Boeser.
But the question the team shouldn’t be what it would cost to acquire one of the most highly touted goal young scorers of the past handful of seasons. The question should be whether any price is worth it.
They can find a way to fit the Vancouver Canucks’ slumping sniper under the salary cap. Moving the final year of Milan Lucic’s contract would be sufficient to get Boeser’s $6.65 million into the picture this season. But with raises for Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar kicking in next year, something would have to give to keep Boeser through 2025 when his deal expires.
Would they be stronger with Boeser but without one of their top defencemen, like Noah Hanifin? Probably not.
Would they drop a veteran like Tyler Toffoli – a Darry Sutter favourite who is thriving this season? Maybe if Boeser felt like more of a sure thing. But as he exists right now, the unquestionably talented right winger is a struggling gamble, no more assured of a return to the 30-goal realm than Andrew Mangiapane. And Mangiapane makes less. And with Nazem Kadri having a big game and others seemingly warming up for the Flames, is it enough of an upgrade up front to sacrifice the picks, prospects or players that will go the other way?
With just four goals in 20 games this season, Boeser was almost a healthy scratch on Saturday for a Canucks team that should be better based on the talent on the roster. The Flames could use more goals, on pace for more than half a goal less than last year’s loaded forward group. At 25, Boeser offers youth and a history of successful scoring seasons prior to devastating personal issues while dealing with his dad’s illness and death. A fresh start is something both he and the team seem to be looking for with the Canucks struggling this season.
Boeser’s agent has been permitted to explore possible destinations, and Vancouver’s Rick Dhaliwal reported that the Flames may be interested. It’s an easy conclusion considering Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving has been seeking scoring help since the summer departure of 40-goal scorers Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk.
“This is one thing I do know. The Calgary Flames are looking for a goal scorer,” Dhaliwal said this week on Donnie and Dhali on CHEK. “I heard last night Calgary may have interest in Boeser – not confirmed – but teams poke around. Lots of former Canucks in the Calgary dressing room who could vouch for Boeser.”
Sure, the Flames have Chris Tanev, Toffoli and goaltender Jacob Markstrom who toiled alongside the young star during his best times in Vancouver.
But maybe Boeser's words this week are enough to convince a few teams he's overcoming his personal obstacles and finding his game again.
“I haven't really been myself playing-wise on the ice in a long time. And the last two games, I feel like I've found myself again," he told Sportsnet. "That's all I'm thinking about. I've been able to focus so far. That's why I keep saying I'm just focused on doing the same thing, playing the same way.
"I feel like I have my swagger back. And I want to keep it and help our team."
Or, if he's traded, another team.
But even if the Flames get involved, do the Canucks really want to face their former star in multiple games against their Pacific Division rival for at least the next three seasons?
That might be the most important question of all — and the easiest to guess the answer.