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Islanders: Canucks Brock Boeser is interesting but difficult trade target

Brock Boeser #6 of the Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
Brock Boeser #6 of the Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
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Vancouver Canucks Brock Boeser is a wildly interesting trade target for the New York Islanders.

On Friday, a rumor broke that the Vancouver Canucks were looking to trade sniper Brock Boeser. Adding him would be a huge boost for the New York Islanders.

You probably remember that Boeser challenged Mathew Barzal for the 2018 Calder Trophy until an injury forced him to sit out the last quarter of the 2017-18 season.

While a trade for Brock Boeser wouldn’t come cheap, and his $5.875 million cap hit would further complicate an already stressful salary cap situation for the New York Islanders, landing Boeser would give the Isles the goal-scoring threat they need.

The Player

Since entering the league in 2017-18, the 23rd overall pick at the 2015 draft, has 75 goals over 197 games. He’s hit 25+ goals in his first two years.

His 16 goals in 57 games this season is his lowest yet. But over a full 82 games 2019-20 season, Boeser would have 23 goals. Boeser is a sure-fire 20+ goal player and at 23 years old he’s only going to get better.

His 0.83 points per game since 2017-18 have him producing at a similar clip as Detroit Red Wings Dylan Larkin (0.83 PP/G) and Pittsburgh Penguins Jake Guentzel (0.82 PP/G).

His cap hit is high, but he’s worth every penny. A few weeks ago, The Athletic’s Harman Dayal (subscription required) evaluated Boeser’s deal as the fourth-best on the Canucks after guys like J.T. Miller, Elias Pettersson, and Quinn Hughes. The last two are still on ELC’s. Dayal expects Boeser to add $5.65 million in value to his deal.

Brock Boeser would be a huge addition for the Islanders who are starved for goal-scoring talent. The fact that he’s under 25 is the icing on the cake.

Can It Work Cap Wise?

But adding him to the equation will be quite difficult.

While a $5.875 million cap hit is great for a kid like Boeser it would be hard to work into an Isles squad that’s already going to find it difficult to sign their own players and stay under the cap ceiling.

With Mathew Barzal, Ryan Pulock, Devon Toews, and likely Ilya Sorokin needing deals for 2020-21, adding Boeser’s $5.875 million is going to require some heavy lifting from Lou Lamoriello to make it all work.

Signing the Isles four RFAs to around $17.25 million like Arthur Staple suggested (subscription required) would have the Isles $7.131 million over the cap ceiling. With Boeser that puts the Isles $13.006 million over the ceiling.

It’s not impossible to make the space required to make it work, but it involves a lot of moving parts to make it fit.

  • Whatever trade the Islanders make with Vancouver would have to send some cap space to the West coast. Obviously we can’t be sending over more than we receive. A package like Anthony Beauvillier, Scott Mayfield, and Kieffer Bellows might be enough, maybe?
  • Nick Leddy, Thomas Hickey, and Leo Komarov would have to be traded for some form of futures like picks or prospects.
  • Andrew Ladd would go to the AHL to bury $1.075 million in cap space.
  • Lastly, Sebastian Aho would have to be signed to a league-minimum deal of $700,000.

Those deals would leave the Isles with $994,167 in cap space for 2020-21 and gives them the following lineup:

Forward

Anders Lee- Mathew Barzal – Jordan Eberle
Josh Bailey – Brock Nelson – Brock Boeser
Michael Dal Colle – Jean-Gabriel Pageau – Oliver Wahlstrom
Otto Koivula – Casey Cizikas – Cal Clutterbuck
Extra forward: Ross Johnston

Defense

Adam Pelech – Ryan Pulock
Devon Toews – Noah Dobson
Sebastian Aho – Johnny Boychuk

Goalies

Semyon Varlamov – Ilya Sorokin

That’s only 21 of a possible 23 man roster, but you can pencil in a veteran D-man on a league-minimum to round that out to 22 and the Isles still have $294,167 in cap space.

But, as I said, that’s a lot of moving parts and a lot of assumptions.

  • Is a Beau, Mayfield, Bellows package enough for Boeser? It could be, but I could see Vancouver hoping for a better return specifically on the back end.
  • Leo Komarov doesn’t have much value on the trade market. Moving him is going to be quite difficult. The Isles could place him in the AHL or buy him out, but neither option creates enough cap space to fit Boeser in.
  • Can Wahlstrom earn a spot after his first pro season?

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Chasing Brock Boeser is a smart idea for the New York Islanders. He’s a young talented goal scorer that fixes a number of issues for the team. The issue is how the heck are the Isles going to make the numbers work to bring him into the fold?

I was able to make the numbers work using CapFriendly’s armchair GM feature but as we all know it’s never that easy in real life.

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