The economics and fit are challenging, but the prospect of adding a 50-point forward in his mid-20s was also enough to merit discussion. According to a source with direct knowledge, the Pittsburgh Penguins did indeed broach the idea of acquiring Vancouver Canucks forward Brock Boeser before the March 21 NHL trade deadline.
But the idea stage and a light inquiry are where it apparently stopped for the time, too. To date, there have not been serious or intense talks, nor is anything expected before the deadline.
Of course, in this world, everything comes with a caveat. Things can change in one phone call, especially when Jim Rutherford is involved.
After this season, Boeser, 25, is an RFA and is one of the handful of Vancouver Canucks whose future is in flux with new GM Patrik Allvin and Rutherford, the President of Hockey Operations. The new Canucks management is currently gauging the interest and values of several players, but J.T. Miller is essentially off the market.
Boeser carries a $5.8 million AAV, but a new team would have to offer him well above that price range to maintain his rights beyond this season or get the player to agree to a longer deal at a lower AAV. Vancouver or an acquiring team must offer Boeser $7.5 million to keep his rights because that is Boeser’s most recent salary.
Perhaps that was a slick move by Boeser’s agent (Ben Hankinson) to get Boeser into UFA free agency faster, but it does complicate any trade talks.
The first Pittsburgh Penguins don’t have the salary-cap space to take on such a player without sending out similar or more salary. Penguins winger Kasperi Kapanen has been prominently mentioned in NHL trade rumors and speculation. However, the source dismissed the talk.
“There were talks, just like every GM talks to every team,” the source said.
Boeser has 33 points (16-17-33) in 51 games and is a minus-8, which are acceptable numbers (except the minus-8), but not quite worth $7.5 million per year.
For now, look for much less expensive Pittsburgh Penguins trade targets.