The Vancouver Canucks forward is one of several high-profile restricted free agents who remain unsigned as NHL training camps draw near.
Aside from Sebastian Aho, who inked a five-year, $42.27-million deal with Carolina after the Hurricanes matched an offer sheet from the Montreal Canadiens, San Jose Sharks forward Timo Meier is arguably the most significant RFA to come off the market so far. Meier signed a four-year, $24-million contract July 1 and, along with unsigned Winnipeg Jets restricted free agent Kyle Connor, has been used as a comparable in negotiations between Boeser's camp and the Canucks.
"Those are some of the names we've used," general manager Jim Benning said of Meier and Connor. "They (Boeser's camp) have been reasonable and we're continuing to talk to get to some common ground. I'm hopeful to get something done before camp, but we're not there yet."
While Meier's $6-million AAV would be reasonable for the Canucks, Benning has no intention of handing out a similarly structured contract. The base salary in the final year of Meier's contract is $10 million, setting him up for a $10-million qualifying offer as a restricted free agent when it expires. Boeser would also be an RFA after a four-year deal.
"That scares me a bit," Benning said.
Vancouver prefers a salary structure more closely resembling that of Bo Horvat's contract, Kuzma adds. The Canucks pivot signed a six-year pact with an average annual value of $5.5 million shortly before training camp opened in 2017. Horvat's deal does not include any signing bonuses and he'll earn a base salary of just $4.45 million in the final year of the contract.
"We're looking at all of our options and are talking what long and short deals look like," Benning said.
Boeser, 22, scored 26 goals and added 30 assists in 69 games for the Canucks last season. Meier had 30 goals and 36 assists in 78 games, while Connor potted 34 tallies and 32 helpers in 82 contests.
The Canucks have just over $5 million in projected cap space with 24 players signed, according to CapFriendly. They could create additional cap space by placing Antoine Roussel on long-term injured reserve and optioning players to the minors.