The Canucks brass must now turn their attention to a new contract for captain Bo Horvat. Or maybe not.
Is there an assumption that a new deal will get done at some point prior to the 27-year-old turning 28 in April and becoming an unrestricted free agent next summer, one that couldn’t be made regarding JT Miller because of his age, projected value, and term?
Speaking to Horvat’s agent Pat Morris on Thursday evening, VHN didn’t learn much. The rep’ wasn’t characterizing negotiations or giving anything away as it relates to a resolution, other than to confirm the camps have been talking at points since the end of last season.
Vancouver Canucks President of Hockey Operations Jim Rutherford seemed to suggest that a new contract for Horvat would be a foregone conclusion with some of the terminology he used at the end of the season, terminology he wasn’t using to describe Miller’s existence at the time.
There appeared to be a uniform respect among the Canucks brass for the team’s on-ice leader, a player who expressed great disappointment in missing the last seven games of the season due to a broken tibia. Horvat’s season ended when he blocked a slapshot from Arizona Coyotes defenceman Anton Stralman on April 14th.
“It was tough to let that sink in, where obviously, you feel like you let your teammates down, let the team down when you’re not able to help them in the most important time of the year so it definitely sucked,” Horvat said after the season.
The recovery was six to eight weeks with no lasting repercussions or surgery required.
“Obviously I can take what I learned this year and the things I did well this year into next season,” Horvat said of his overall game, “but always going to continue to get better during the summers.”
Horvat will be challenged to top a career best 31 goal season. He also touted an impressive 57% winning percentage at the face-off dot, four game winning goals and 19 power play points. He plays in all situations and added one shorthanded goal.
Another challenge will be answering repeated questions about his next contract, assuming, there’s that dangerous word again, it isn’t resolved in the not-so-distant future.
If and when Horvat signs, due to salary cap constraints, a someone or two are going bye bye before next season.