Here at Canucks Army, we love three things more than anything in the
world: prospects, prospect rankings, and whining about prospect
rankings. Every summer we vote on and rank the top-20 Canucks prospects to
take stock of what’s in the system, and every summer we hear vocal
complaints from our readers they disagree with our rankings.
So this year, in our mid-term ranking, we gave you the chance to vote on prospects and
have a say on these players. Since our summer rankings, we’ve
simplified the definition of “prospect” to any player in the Vancouver
Canucks’ system that is eligible for the Calder Trophy if they were to
play in the NHL this year. This means that players like Linden Vey and
Joacim Eriksson who were not rated over the summer will be covered in
Without further ado, here is our top rated Canucks Prospect
#1 Bo Horvat
Previous Summer Ranking: 1
After a few weeks, we have come to the number one prospect in the Canucks system as voted by the writers here at Canucks Army and by our readers. Surprisingly this vote unanimous with everyone voting for Bo Horvat as the number one prospect in the system suggesting they thought he has the highest probability of success combined with potential ceiling.
Bo Horvat has played in 43 games with the Canucks this year burning both a year of his Entry Level Contract and a year towards becoming an Unrestricted Free Agency, showing the Canucks are fully committed to keeping this young player in the NHL this year.
In this short time he has scored 8 goals and 9 assists good for a 0.40 points/game rate. He has 40 shots which translates to a 0.93 shots/game ratio, quite low, but reflective of his fourth line 11:05 minutes per game. Compared to other rookies Horvat is 20th in scoring and 102nd in ice time.
While his goal scoring is quite positive it does not appear to be sustainable at this level. Horvat was not known for his scoring in the OHL and currently he has a 19.4% personal shooting percentage while his on-ice PDO is just above normal at 101.2%.
Coming into the season Horvat was heralded for his faceoff abilities, with some pundits claiming that he was elite. Horvat did start the season with over a 60% face-off win percentage but that has harshly regressed to a much more normal level down to 51.6%, which is still good for a 19 year old in the NHL and appears to have finally stabilized.
When we look at his fancystats, things start to get worrisome. His shot attempts both for and against are terrible and he had been playing worse than a replacement level player. His Corsi-For/60 is 47.74 (at 5v5, 301st for all forwards with more than 300 minutes played), his Corsi-Against/60 is 60.55 (337th), Corsi-For% of 44.1% (326th), and is greatly hurting his linemates when he is playing with them (CF%relTM -5.8, 351st).
Horvat is being deployed in a very cushy situation. He’s playing against some of the weakest competition for the Canucks and he has high zone starts showing the coaches (lack of) trust to play Horvat in tough situations. Despite this easier usage he is still performing terribly in terms of possession. In more recent games Horvat has been centering the second line as a result of the injuries pushing him further up the line up.
The good news is that Horvat is 19 and the fact his numbers are below replacement level currently means little for his career. He still has 5 years to his peak and will only get better from here. Combined with the fact that Horvat is already scoring like a middle-6 forward bodes quite well for his success. Also, Horvat’s fancystats have been as strong as they’ve been in the NHL recently, as he has been fantastic with Ronalds Kenins:
Some of this likely has to do with being away from Derek Dorsett, who has been terrible this season. Together, Dorsett and Horvat have a 41.5% Corsi, while Horvat is a much more respectable 48.5% Corsi away from Dorsett. With Ronalds Kenins, Horvat is carrying a 53.8% Corsi, which is elite for a 4th liner.
In terms of looking at comparables for Bo Horvat. When adjusting for age in their draft year the closest NHLers to Bo Horvat are Manny Malhotra, Cody Eakin and Jean-Yves Leroux. When looking at his ceiling based on his comparables this cohort also includes Todd Bertuzzi and Michael Ryder. Rhys wrote about Bo Horvat back in September, finding Mike Peca, Ryan O’Reilly, and Mike Fisher as possible similar players too. He summed up Horvat’s potential quite well in a statement that still holds true to today:
“There’s an easy argument to be made that [Horvat]’s at least an average offensive 2nd line centre in the prime of his career with the plus-plus-defensive upside he’s demonstrated in the OHL – a tough commodity to find on the open market.”
Stay tuned for final part this series, which will run on Saturday and cover the voting of prospects in Vancouver’s system!
- Click here to read part 1
- Click here to read part 2
- Click here to read part 3
- Click here to read part 4
- Click here to read part 5
- Click here to read part 6
- Click here to read part 7
- Click here to read part 8