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Boeser hoping to build on start with Canucks

Forward prospect learning from veterans after scoring five points in nine games last season

by Kevin Woodley / Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Canucks forward Brock Boeser had an NHL debut to remember late last season, but that doesn't mean he has arrived for good.

Less than 24 hours after his college season with the University of North Dakota ended with a loss to Boston University in the NCAA championship, Boeser signed an entry-level contract with the Canucks and played his first NHL game in front of a large group of family and friends in his home state, scoring the winning goal in a 4-2 victory at the Minnesota Wild on March 25.

Boeser, 20, finished with five points (four goals, one assist) in nine NHL games, but he has not earned a roster spot for this season. That point was reinforced by the fact the Canucks had him attend a third straight development camp.

"I think that's the right thing to do," Boeser said. "I'm still a rookie and a prospect."

Video: EDM@VAN: Boeser nets PPG off H. Sedin's no-look feed

Boeser had good chemistry on the second line with Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi during those nine games and displayed a nice finishing touch on a power-play unit with Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin, scoring two goals. But if his presence at development camp wasn't enough proof that Boeser needs to earn a spot, the additions of free agent forwards Sam Gagner and Alexander Burmistrov, and the re-signing of Anton Rodin, were other indicators that the 20-year-old has work to do.

"I think it's going to be really competitive," Boeser said. "Just signing those guys turns things up another notch."

Director of player development Ryan Johnson said he has seen some differences in Boeser, who was selected by Vancouver with the No. 23 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.

"The way he is carrying himself, his demeanor, his intensity from drill to drill, he has a professional way about him now," Johnson said. "Whereas last year maybe [he was] just getting through things, everything he does now has a purpose to it. … He realizes how hard things are going to be (at training camp) in September, a lot of competition, so he's doing things the right way to put himself in a good spot."

The right wing (6-foot-1, 191 pounds) stayed in Vancouver for an extra week after development camp to work out with Canucks veterans, who last season showed him a lot about how to prepare.

"What it takes to be an everyday NHLer, how in shape they are, and how they take care of their bodies and the way they eat," Boeser said. "Just watching those guys do all those things taught me a lot."

Boeser has skated with a handful of NHL players the past two summers, including Washington Capitals right wing T.J. Oshie, Wild left wing Zach Parise and New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh. In the past, Boeser simply skated at the same time they did, but this summer he planned to work out with them.

Boeser, who broke Parise's freshman record at North Dakota with 27 goals two seasons ago, expected it would be different being around them as a fellow NHL player.

"It's a daily routine thing now," Boeser said. "It's a job. I've gotten to know those guys a little bit over the past summer or two, but now I am really a lot closer with them."

Video: ANA@VAN: Boeser beats Bernier with long wrister

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