The Vancouver Canucks and their fans endured a difficult 2016-17 season, but there was a major ray of hope that arrived late in the schedule in the form of talented prospect Brock Boeser (pronounced BEH-suhr). With the team already showing some major improvement during the first weeks of the current campaign, there is little doubt that Boeser has already made an impact on the ice as he ranked third among rookies with 17 points after 17 games.
Thanks to numbers like that, collectors are starting to hunt for his first NHL trading cards. For those unfamiliar with this young star in the making, there are plenty of reasons to start looking for his cardboard:
- On November 4, Boeser became the third-youngest rookie in the history of the Canucks franchise to record a hat trick. The three tallies (and an assist) came in a big 4-2 victory over the defending Stanley Cup champs; the Pittsburgh Penguins. Who were the only players younger than Boeser to accomplish this feat for Vancouver in the past? Tony Tanti and Trevor Linden. Upper Deck commemorated the feat with a Game Dated Moments card that has since been retired.
- Boeser opened the 2017-18 schedule with five points over four straight games, which included the game-winner (and an assist) against the Ottawa Senators on October 17. The Sens initially contended that there was goalie interference on the play, but their protest was overturned.
- Another great early-season performance saw Boeser earn three assists in Vancouver’s 6-2 triumph at home against the Washington Capitals. As part of the burgeoning Triple B line with Sven Baertschi and Bo Horvat, the Canucks have a strong young line that works well together and has the potential to help take them back to playoff contention.
- In mid-November, Boeser was in the midst of a three-game points streak which included goals in back-to-back losses against the Vegas Golden Knights and St. Louis Blues.
- The Burnsville, Minnesota native grew up watching the Wild and starred for his local high school before heading to the USHL. He played a small part of the 2013-14 season with the Sioux City Musketeers and moved on to the Waterloo Black Hawks the next year. In 2014-15, he was named to the USHL’s All-Rookie Team and also led the league with 35 goals. That big effort captured the attention of scouts from the Vancouver Canucks and the team made sure he was taken with the 23rd overall selection in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. It was a whirlwind day that included a stop at the Upper Deck signing station and his Draft Day adventure can be viewed here:
- Choosing to develop at the collegiate level, Boeser joined the University of North Dakota and his remarkable performance in 2015-16 resulted in a national championship. He was the NCHC Rookie of the Year and a First Team All-American in addition to winning a bronze medal at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship.
- Wearing the “A” on his jersey last year, Boeser’s production dropped slightly as a sophomore thanks to a wrist injury, but he still averaged over a point per game. At the end of the year, he signed on with the Canucks and made his NHL debut on March 25. What made the game even more special was that it was on the road against his hometown Wild and he scored the winning goal on a rebound! Boeser, who did keep that milestone puck, reflected on that first goal and game for Upper Deck at the 2017 NHLPA Rookie Showcase: “There was so much adrenaline in that game and everything happened so fast. Obviously, it was a dream come true and just learning from all those guys in Vancouver. It was special that they welcomed me with open arms. They were super nice and took me under their wings.”
- At the 2017 NHLPA Rookie Showcase, Boeser was able to pose for his first NHL trading cards from Upper Deck. The event came just weeks after the first ones hit the market and he was surprised to hear that they had been released.“Really? I didn’t even know they were out yet. That’s awesome! I collected when I was six to eight years old and I haven’t really collected since, but they were sitting around my house for the longest time until my Mom decided to get rid of them.”
- During his nine-game stint at the NHL level in 2016-17, he scored four times and added an assist. Outside of his pro debut, there was another major game that came on March 31 as the Los Angeles Kings came up to Vancouver. As a young collector, Boeser always kept his eyes peeled for certain players – including some that he has already faced as a pro. “Obviously, my idols I always looked for. Marian Gaborik of the Wild, I looked up to him much of my whole childhood, so he was one of those guys. I did play against him,” he continued. “It was actually pretty wild. At a face off, he said ‘congrats’ to me. I’m like, ‘how did he even know who I am?’ I have a close personal friend back home that is close with him, so maybe that’s why, but I don’t know. I was just amazed that he said that. I told him that he was my idol growing up and it was really special playing against him. Even in that game, Jarome Iginla was in there. I used his curve growing up. That was so awesome.”
There is little doubt that Boeser’s Young Guns rookie card that is currently being discovered in packs and boxes of 2017-18 Upper Deck Series One is going to be a hot item among Canucks fans, but it could experience even higher demand if he can continue to produce offense at such a feverish pace. It also has the traditional and limited Exclusives and High Gloss versions in addition to the Clear Cut parallel that proved to be a big hit with collectors last year.
As an added bonus, he is also featured on the Young Guns Checklist with fellow freshman Nico Hischier, but his UD Canvas Young Guns card is being saved for the second series that is set to arrive in early 2018.
If you are searching for even more alternatives to collect, there are plenty of Boeser’s cards in Upper Deck products that have hit store shelves in recent months. For those wanting an early autograph or memorabilia card of the Canucks phenom, their best place to find one is in Artifacts. There are also some solid rookie card, parallel, or insert options to consider in both MVP and O-Pee-Chee.
Also, don’t miss out on some of Boeser’s different promo cards from sets like Overtime, the Fall Expo and UD Winter which releases this week!
Stephen Laroche has been actively involved in the hockey collectibles industry in a variety of roles for nearly 20 years. In the past, he has been a writer and editor with Beckett Media and SLAM! Collectibles in addition to working as a trading card company executive and consultant. He is available for freelance work and can be contacted at [email protected]