What a difference a year makes.
Last summer, I think I had the "Da Beauty League" beat pretty much to myself around these parts. After Brock Boeser had taken the NHL by storm with four goals in his nine-game teaser at the end of the 2016-17 season, I wanted to keep an eye on what he was up to.
Of course, Boeser followed up with 29 goals and a Calder Trophy nomination in his official rookie NHL season. Now he has been named captain of Team Bic, one of Da Beauty League's six teams.
for the Team Bic roster. Boeser's teammates will include Derek Stepan, Casey Mittelstadt and Nate Schmidt, with Alex Stalock of the Minnesota Wild in net.
Other big names skating in the summer hockey league include Dustin Byfuglien, Jake Gardiner, Alex Goligoski, Jake Guentzel, Erik Haula, Nick Leddy, Anders Lee, Ryan McDonagh, Brock Nelson, Zach Parise, the van Riemsdyk brothers and Jason Zucker, as well as one-time Canucks prospect Jordan Schroeder.
Games will run every Wednesday for the next eight weeks before the playoffs, and will be livestreamed at the Da Beauty League website
. Team Bic kicks things off in the first game of the night against Anders Lee's Tradition team at 5:30 p.m. Central Time, which is 3:30 here in Vancouver.
The games are 4-on-4, no contact. Tonight will be our first chance to see Brock back on the ice since he sustained the nasty back injury in March against the New York Islanders.
Another sign that summer hockey is getting serious—a jersey sponsorship deal!
Boeser's Instagram stories have shown him paying visits to some teammates recently, including a stopoff in Toronto to hang with Michael Del Zotto in his recently-completed backyard oasis earlier this week.
For the most part, MDZ has been filling his feed with workout videos. Seems he's not the party animal he once was!
Also skating in Toronto this week: Quinn and Jack Hughes.
Quinn's coach at Michigan, Mel Pearson, offers some insight on a potential timeline for Hughes to make a decision about whether or not to turn pro.
Given his own self-interest, it's not surprising to hear that Pearson thinks Quinn's best course of action would be to spend another year at Michigan.
Regardless of the timing, this is certainly a promising assessment:
I wonder if there's anything to this Ben Hutton trade chatter? Given what Hughes has said previously about wanting to know that there'd be room for him at the NHL level, it's possible that the Canucks need to make a move to open up some space on the depth chart before he signs.
Travis Green didn't show a whole lot of confidence in Hutton last season. His average ice time dropped from 20:29 per game in Willie's last season in 2016-17 to 18:25 last season when he did play, and he was healthy-scratched 12 times between November and March.
Whether Hughes signs or not, it wouldn't surprise me if Hutton has played his last game in a Canucks jersey as Green continues to put his stamp on the roster.
One final note on the defense to wrap up today:
Last year, 30 players filed for arbitration. Defenseman Nate Schmidt was the only player to go through a hearing, with the Vegas Golden Knights:
The arbitrator ultimately awarded two years at $2.25 million.