Sunday, March 26, 2017

Player spotlight: Brock Boeser

A lot of attention in the Minnesota hockey world was paid to Brock Boeser this weekend as he made the jump in less than 24 hours from NCAA to NHL hockey. It goes to show you how far down the line player development is these days. A lot of players in NCAA hockey are capable of being on an NHL roster at any time.

So, who is Brock Boeser? A native of Burnsville, he joined the high school varsity roster as a sophomore for the 2013-14 season, and finished fourth in team scoring. Burnsville advanced to the sectional final playoff that season against perennial powerhouse Edina, only to lose in a tightly contested contest, 3-2. The following season, Boeser developed into one of the top talents in the state, known for a sniping shot, and solid offensive and defensive game. He topped team points with 46, and earned Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year honors. Burnsville struggled to find success in the playoffs, as the team was upset by Bloomington Jefferson in the section semifinal, and eventually became Boeser's final high school game. Forgoing his senior campaign for the Blaze, Boeser moved onto junior hockey and the USHL's Waterloo Black Hawks. In the 2014-15 season, his 35 goals was a league best, and third overall in points with 68. Now receiving attention as a top NHL prospect, Boeser was drafted 23rd overall by the Vancouver Canucks in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Following the draft, Boeser made the leap to NCAA hockey. After originally committing to Wisconsin, he chose the University of North Dakota as his next stop for the 2015-16 season. As a freshman at North Dakota, Boeser was the NCHC overall scoring champion and finished third nationally in scoring, earning All-America honors. He helped led the school to it's first national championship since 2000. His sophomore season at UND was interrupted by a wrist injury, which caused him to miss several games during the middle of the season. Despite the injury, he managed to finish third in team scoring.  North Dakota made the NCAA tournament, but they suffered a heart-breaking loss to Boston University, 4-3, in double overtime on Friday that was the seventh-longest game in NCAA tournament history. After playing a grueling five periods of hockey, Boeser signed a deal with the Vancouver Canucks, affectively ending his colligate career, and starting a new chapter.  The timing worked out well for Boeser.  He was able to join the Canucks in his debut early Saturday after catching a short flight from Grand Forks, North Dakota to St. Paul, Minnesota where the Minnesota Wild were hosting the Canucks that day. Not only was it his first game, but he notched the first goal of his NHL career in the second period that proved to be the game-winning goal.

While the perfect scenario is in a Wild sweater, that is the kind of road to the NHL young hockey players in the state dream about.

Amateur and professional stats:

Video of Brock Boeser's Canucks debut against the Wild:

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