TSN reported on Thursday afternoon that contract talks between the Vancouver Canucks and captain Bo Horvat’s camp are dragging and believe that if a deal isn’t in place by the trade deadline in March, Horvat will be moved.
A more popular opinion would be that a Horvat deal gets done before the season starts out of necessity for the hockey club to perform at its best and to avoid distractions in a market that’s easily distracted.
Pierre Lebrun was the TSN’er who suggested the long-term trade option during a televised segment. He suggests there is a pretty sizable gap in the two sides’ positions.
“I think that the Canucks’ front office feels a bit less pressure in the wake of J.T. Miller signing, to get it done at all costs,” Lebrun said. “In other words, they have a delicate salary cap position, and a Horvat extension has to fit within that long term. We’ll see where this goes, but certainly my sense is that if Horvat is not signed by the March 3rd trade deadline, there is a possibility the Canucks would trade him instead of losing him for nothing come July 1.”
While the player and his fans remain optimistic that a contract will be signed in a timely fashion, the messaging from the two sides, particularly from Canucks management, has clearly changed in recent weeks. As Lebrun suggests, part of that may be the unexpected resolution of a seven-year contract for leading scorer Miller, signed on the Friday of Labour Day weekend.
Postseason this past spring, the enthusiasm for a new Horvat contract was palpable, almost assumed. Since the Miller deal, there’s been a more measured response to questions.
“We still continue to talk here and as I said we have a lot of respect for Bo, Bo is our captain here and he’s been a good player for his stint in Vancouver,” Canucks General Manager Patrik Allvin said on September 6th. “Hopefully we can figure something out here.”
Not exactly a guarantee.
The Canucks open their regular season on the road against the Edmonton Oilers on October 12th.