Canucks Roll Call is assessing every player who held a significant place in the fortunes of the 2021-22 Vancouver Canucks season. We’ll be looking at the highs and lows they experienced during the last campaign, as well as what the future holds for them in Vancouver. Today we feature Canucks captain Bo Horvat.
2021-22 totals (GP-G-A-P): 70-31-21-52, 40 PIM
Contract Status: One year remaining on a six-year deal that paid him an average of $5.5-million per season. He’s an unrestricted free agent (UFA) at the end of the 2022-’23 season if he doesn’t sign a contract extension.
We waited a long time to profile the Canucks captain in this series. It wasn’t on purpose, it just happened, and now it seems the ‘Bo Horvat roll call’ is rather poignant.
We did the J.T. Miller roll call way back on June 4th and it turned out to be remarkably accurate, despite thinking at that point Horvat would have a contract by now and Miller’s future might still be unknown.
Well, well, here we are.
Neither Vancouver Canucks General Manager Patrik Allvin nor Horvat’s representative Pat Morris are giving anything away in terms of contract negotiations. This could actually drag on until Thanksgiving, just before the start of the season, just when everyone wants and needs peace of mind heading into the start.
Let’s gun for that.
Meanwhile, Horvat is coming off a career year goals-wise, with 31. He tied his third highest point total for a season with 52. That’s out of eight seasons. How time flies despite the fact the club wasn’t necessarily having much fun.
While Horvat is a popular leader within the room, a face-off guru, and a stalwart power-forward of sorts in the centre position, his teams haven’t done so well. Naturally, he can’t foot the blame for only two playoff appearances during his tenure, not in the ultimate team sport, but he is a common denominator with those losing ways. An unfortunate burden.
Horvat showed his true colours and determination during Vancouver’s frantic push for the playoffs. In the month of April prior to getting hurt 8:16 into playing time on April 14th, Horvat pounded home five goals and eight points during the five Canucks games in April.
Outside of the aforementioned performance in the clutch, Horvat had another eight points over a five game stretch that started on February 28th. Extended, that run actually featured 14 points over a ten game period. It was after a Covid break in January during the second half that Horvat clearly played his best hockey.
The true lowlight of the season for Horvat came completely outside of his control, other than trying to block a shot. When the Anton Stralman slapper broke Horvat’s tibia, it ended the captain’s season, right in the middle of the final stretch drive. He missed the final seven games and the club was officially eliminated with him out of the line-up.
“That sucked,” he said after the season.
Nor can you blame him for the brief Covid protocol absence, just like you can’t blame any of the other Canucks. We quickly forget, it definitely wasn’t as screwy as the season before it, but 2021′-22 from a logistical standpoint and a pandemic standpoint was still a bizarre pain in the butt.
VHN would prefer a little less in-game shmoozy-smooze with the opposition, particularly as team captain, but that’s just us. I reckon that makes us dinosaurs.
What the future holds
Horvat will sign with the Canucks. The sooner the better, but again, this could drag on tight to the season. I don’t think the club nor the player will want it to drag on as a distraction and I wouldn’t expect Horvat to declare talks done once the season starts. The advice from his agent, what really matters, might be different.
The 27-year-old, two years younger than Miller, is eligible for an eight-year commitment. Rather than make a prediction, how about posing a question? Should the Canucks hitch their wagon to the Miller / Horvat train for the next seven seasons? Depending on the length of a potential no-move clause, that’s a big commitment.
Horvat is in his prime. From a physical standpoint, from an effort standpoint, the Canucks could do a whole lot worse. BC native Steve Yzerman didn’t win a Stanley Cup as captain until his 14th season in Detroit. Eventual Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron won a Stanley Cup in his eighth year in Boston (one of them being the lock-out).
One option would be to give the players and fans in Vancouver some continuity and community, try to build something with the present core. Meaning it might be time to hitch that wagon.
Other Roll Calls:
Conor Garland – June 19th
Thatcher Demko – June 6th
Jason Dickinson – June 10th
Tyler Myers – July 19th
Tanner Pearson – June 28th