The start of Bo Horvat’s time in Vancouver wasn’t ideal for the young kid drafted from the London Knights. Taken with the pick dealt in exchange for fan favourite Cory Schneider, starting a firestorm of controversies and piling the pressure on Horvat. He’s impressed in his time as a Canucks, exceeding the expectations of many fans thus far. I asked our writers to see how they felt about him at this point. Here’s what they said.
To be honest, I kind of agreed with the prevailing sentiment at the time he was drafted that Horvat would be more of two-way, defensively-oriented centre with some offensive upside. The terrific season he had following his draft year convinced me – if anything – that his offensive ceiling could be higher than initially thought. It has surprised me, then, to find that (so far) Horvat has performed almost opposite to my expectations. To date, Horvat’s offensive game has come greater than advertised. But his defensive prowess still leaves quite a bit to be desired – though some of that has been the result of often playing with lesser-skilled linemates and difficult match-ups. One expectation of mine, however, has been undeniably met. His former London Knights teammate Max Domi once said that Horvat was “going to be a captain in the NHL” one day. Nothing I have seen has convinced me that Domi was wrong.
No. I figured Bo would be a top line center one day but maybe this quick, I’m not sure. Exceeding expectations on an awful team isn’t hard but he has been exceptional. It’s fun to watch a guy like him because the canucks sure have been lifeless until recently
Nope. When he came in last year and showed just how much he had worked on his skating, I knew he was going to be a player. His skating was arguably his biggest knock when we drafted him, and he took that and improved just through the course of the off-season. He’s easily become one of the most explosive skaters on our team, not to mention the most consistent. The thing that impresses me the most is his work ethic. It’s fantastic. Whenever the team isn’t playing well, I feel like he’s noticeable and actually trying to be a game-changer. We’ve obviously seen his offensive upside this season, which excites me because he’s looking like he can be our solid No. 1 centre in the future. It’s pretty clear that it was probably expected of him, but I don’t really have as many worries now.
Off the ice, I think his small-town qualities are really shining. His humbleness and maturity are the second to none, especially amongst players his age. Those two qualities, together with his work-ethic, make for a great combo in any player. His work-ethic is what will push him to improve every game/season, while his character will make him a player that others will look up to. Horvat’s intangibles are top notch, and they should translate directly to a successful on-ice product. I have no doubt at all that he’s going to be the succeeding Henrik as the next Captain of the Canucks!!
Bo Horvat confounds the mind. He’s the type of player that anti-analytics types believe exist to such a degree that they discount analytics entirely. He has a generally negative impact on shot-attempt differential, but a legitimately positive impact on scoring chance differential. Those players are exceedingly rare, but Horvat has fit the bill since he entered the league.
I feel like it’s hard to say whether he’s met or exceeded my expectations because I still don’t know what he *is*. Most of the underlying data suggests Horvat can’t keep this up… until you dig deeper, and realize he’s legitimately driving offense, albeit in an unconventional matter at times.
I guess the short answer would be that whatever I was expecting, it wasn’t this. I’m very curious to see how he develops from here on out.
I’ve always hoped for Horvat to pan out, but I didn’t expect him to perform this well. He’s definitely a future captain for this franchise, and his offensive game has impressed. I’m interested to see how it works out in the long run, but right now he’s putting a bit of sun on a gloomy time for the Canucks.