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Boeser, Canucks to put off contract talks until after season

Forward who led Vancouver with 29 goals can be restricted free agent after 2018-19

by Kevin Woodley / Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- Brock Boeser and the Vancouver Canucks have chosen to delay contract discussions until after the season, general manager Jim Benning said Thursday.

Boeser, a 21-year-old forward, is going into the final season of his three-year, entry-level contract and can become a restricted free agent after this season. He has been eligible to sign a contract extension as long as eight years since July 1. He led the Canucks with 29 goals as a rookie last season and was second to New York Islanders forward Mathew Barzal in voting for the Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year.

"I've had a lot of good dialogue with Ben Hankinson, his agent, this summer," Benning said. "He loves playing in Vancouver, he wants to be here long term, but I think at the end of the day we both agreed that he's going to play out [the] last year of his entry-level deal and at [the] end of [the] season we'll circle back around with him and try to figure out a deal for him long term."


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Boeser said Wednesday he isn't concerned about contract negotiations

"I don't know what the numbers will be or anything, but I am just going to play my game and worry about it whenever they talk about it or after the season," he said. "If they do talk with my agent (during the season), I am not going to know at all anyway, so my main goal is to focus on the season and I will worry about it after the season."

Boeser said he also isn't worried about the back injury that ended his season March 5, or the recurring issues he's had with his right wrist, which was surgically repaired two seasons ago and reinjured in February.

Video: Brock Boeser comes in at No. 19 on the list

He said any lingering uncertainty about either injury ended after playing in Da Beauty League, a summer hockey league in his native Minnesota. He led the league with 34 points (16 goals, 18 assists) in 16 games and was named the most valuable player after helping his team win the championship.

"It gave me confidence, kind of made me relax a little just knowing my wrist is good and I can shoot the puck again," Boeser said. "Just to play games with high-level players was nice. I am feeling a lot better ever since I got cleared in early July. It has been hard training to get better and improve my game, so I am feeling good and I am ready to get the season started."

Selected by Vancouver with the No. 23 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, Boeser has 60 points (33 goals, 27 assists) in 71 NHL games and said he expects to see tougher matchups this season following the retirements of Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin.

But Boeser said he can learn from his sophomore season at the University of North Dakota, when his goals (16) and points (34) dropped from his freshman season (27 goals, 60 points).

"I knew it would be a different year and guys would start looking at getting matched up against you and it would be a lot harder, so early in my second season I was trying to do too much and I had to battle through some injuries and I kind of got away from my game," Boeser said. "So that's why I keep saying that I've got to stick to my game and do what I do best and not get away from it. That's my main goal and hopefully from that I can produce offense."

Boeser knows if he does that, he won't have to worry about his next contract.

"I'm just going to focus on what I can do on the ice and I think if I do that and play my game and play the way I do, that will take care of itself," he said.

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