There are many uncertainties in hockey right now, with the world economic situation having a significant impact on how teams will operate under a flat salary cap over the next two seasons.
One team, the Vancouver Canucks, is reportedly already looking to make some changes to their roster to help them with their cap situation, with winger Brock Boeser potentially on the trading block.
The 23-year-old, originally selected 23rd overall in the 2015 Draft, has been a fairly consistent performer in the NHL over the past three years, despite having a down year goalscoring wise in 2019/20.
The 6-foot-1, 207lbs right-handed shot has averaged around 55 points over the past few years and would have reached around 54 points this year had he reached last year’s games total of 69.
His first two years in the NHL saw the Minnesota native register 29 and 26 goals respectively. Had he matched last season’s 69 regular-season games, he was on pace to score around 23 goals - a dip, but still respectable.
All told, Boeser has scored 75 goals and has 161 total points in 197 regular-season games in the big league and is a solid 55+ points producer in the league.
With Taylor Hall’s future still undecided, the Arizona Coyotes should be on the lookout for potential trades for goalscoring forwards, particularly wingers, that they could enquire about.
As things stand, the Coyotes have around $1.5 million in cap space for next season before taking into account Marian Hossa’s contract, which will be placed on LTIR and will free up a further $5.275 million.
This would allow John Chayka to work with $6.775 million in total, without subtracting any existing contracts.
Restricted free agents such as Vinnie Hinostroza and Christian Fischer could be seeking new paydays from the team and will likely be serious considerations for Rick Tocchet’s roster next season, with both still being fairly young (26 and 23 respectively).
Tough decisions may need to be made on the likes of Brad Richardson and Carl Soderberg, who are both in their mid-thirties and may have to walk in free agency if they hope to earn a new deal with these new financial limitations.
With regards to Boeser, he is locked up for a further two seasons at $5.875 million per, a figure that the Coyotes could accommodate but only if some other pieces are moved, or if Vancouver is willing to retain some of his salary - something that isn’t likely to happen.
Rumors around social media suggest that the Canucks are looking to add to their defensive core, which could present the Coyotes with some opportunities to put together a package to land Boeser.
The Coyotes are deep along the blueline, with the likes of Kyle Capobianco and Victor Soderstrom knocking on the door for NHL ice time, which could open up the possibility of a player currently on the NHL roster being moved in a package deal.
Tocchet’s side is one of the better defensive teams in the league, but it is their lack of goalscoring that has held the team from achieving their potential in recent seasons.
It will be up to Chayka to make some moves that can add some true offensive talent to the roster, much like how he acquired Hall and Phil Kessel during the past season.
Things will be tight, with some difficult decisions to be made on some impending veteran free agents as well as making a package that can persuade the Canucks to part ways with a proficient offensive producer such as Boeser.
However, this could be a move that helps the franchise move forward, especially with him locked up for two more seasons, giving them a young forward that can score goals and give the team more options, including on the powerplay.