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Photo Credit: © Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Bo Horvat’s next contract will reportedly be a bridge deal

Jason Botchford appeared as the first-ever guest on Jason Brough and Mike Halford’s TSN 1040 show on Friday and he dropped a pretty big bomb for it’s inauguration. According to Botchford, Bo Horvat’s new contract has been completed, and it’s a two or three year bridge deal that will delay the No. 9 pick from the 2013 draft’s big payday.

Horvat has been one of the hottest topics in Vancouver this summer. Last season, his third in the NHL, Horvat led the Canucks with 20 goals and 52 assists, and earned a spot on the Pacific Division’s All-Star roster. With his entry-level deal coming to an end, many speculated whether or not the Canucks would opt to give him a long-term deal, such as we’ve seen with other similar high draft picks like Sean Monahan, Nathan MacKinnon, and Alex Barkov recently.

If Botchford is correct in reporting that Horvat is signing a short-term deal rather than a long-term deal, the Canucks are mitigating one risk and creating another. If Horvat isn’t actually a star player, struggles against top competition, and can’t lead the team if/when the Sedins move on, they likely did a good thing in not shelling out a lot of money on a long-term deal. But if he is the stud, two-way centre every team wants to have who can consistently rack up 30 goals, he’ll only be two years from unrestricted free agency and will be able to command an even bigger contract.

There’s no exact science to this situation. The Sabres gave Cody Hodgson a long-term deal and bought him out just two years later. The Canadiens gave P.K. Subban a bridge deal and ended up signing him for likely twice the cap hit they could have had him at on a long-term deal if they had taken the gamble.

That said, a contrasting report from Rick Dhaliwal citing Horvat’s agent, Rick Guy, claims that the two sides are still in negotiations and that no deal has actually been finalized.

  • Ranger2k2

    I think a bridge deal is the best play with Horvat. It won’t put the pressure on him to play up to a massive contract. Look at Johnny Gaudreau, after signing his big contract he struggled last year trying to live up to expectations. He will be 25 in 3 years from now and the Canucks will know exactly what type of player he is going to be.

  • DJ_44

    Everytime I hear Botchford on the radio or read one of his pieces I feel a need to take a shower. The general lack of honesty is disappointing. More suited to be a pro wrestling manager than sports reporter.

    • Naslund

      I don’t mind him so much. At least he has something to say. I though the Kurtenbloggers were pretty entertaining.
      I’m not interested in listening to a bunch of Canuck haters from Toronto on that new radio station.

    • Moderated Post

      We’ll find out in a few days if this is true or not, but it if true it would signal a pretty big shift in the team’s spending philosophy. Up until Eriksson it was spend, spend, spend, lock in the core, etc but starting with Gudbranson’s negotiation the purse strings seem to have tightened.

      A bridge deal is good for Bo, barring serious injury, because not only should his next contract be much larger, he can have his choice of teams. Every player wants to win and he’ll have a better idea of how likely that is with the Canucks in 2 years time.

  • Peggy McIntosh

    A bridge deal is perfect for Horvat.

    As a matter of fact, it is perfect for virtually all players other than McDavid/Eichel/Matthews.

    If Bo gets a 3 year deal and then secures an 8 year contract thereafter, he will be under team control until 32.

    As good as Bo looks, I wouldn’t want a Kesler-style player past age 32 for big money.

  • Burnabybob

    Good article, but I’m not sure this qualifies as “bombshell” news. A Horvat trade would have been a bombshell.

    I’m glad they’re thinking bridge deal with Horvat. He’s not a McDavid type player who is already clearly a superstar. Horvat is a good, promising young player who may develop into a first-line center, but may remain a solid second-line center. A three-year contract will be wise.

    • Yeah man what a bum Johansen is. He’s only averaged .75-.8ppg while playing strong two-way game and helping lead his team to the Stanley Cup Finals. Who in their right minds would pay 8×8 for that loser?

      • wojohowitz

        So let`s put you down for a yes on that; Offer Horvat an 8X8 and hope it works out.

        On Johansen his quote from the playoffs says a lot. `What`s that Kesler thinking, playing like that. You`d think he really wants to win. Why doesn`t he just cash his cheques like everybody else and not worry about winning because that`s what real winning is; Cashing the cheques.

        • Not one single person anywhere has suggested offering Horvat 8×8. No sane person would suggest that Horvat and Johansen are comparable players. So what, if anything, are you trying to say?

        • truthseeker

          So what do you think you accomplish by misquoting someone? Lying about what someone said? Do you have a source for that Johansen quote? Cause I can’t find those words anywhere. Oh…you got the first sentence right. But the rest? Are those your words you’re trying to pass off as his?

          Or is it that you don’t know how to properly quote someone? See…these things? ” ” ‘ ‘ they are called quotation marks. They go around what someone has said. As in, at BOTH ends of what the person said.

          For example:

          Truthseeker said, “wojohowitz doesn’t seem to know how to quote someone”.

          Or is this you thinking you’re being clever by trying paint Johansen as someone who “doesn’t want to win”? Or do you think you’re just being clever, by trolling like that? Not sure what your motivation is.

    • bobdaley44

      Horvat 8×8? No way. Johansen is a first line centre with more size , better playmaking skills, better defensively not to mention better numbers. Horvat was scoreless for the last seventeen games when put in a first line roll. Can’t compare the two. Horvat maybe 3 years for total 10 or 11 mill.

  • Chris the Curmudgeon

    A “bridge” deal might not be such a bad play here. By then, the Sedin twins will probably have retired, and Alex Edler will be off the cap as well (if they re-sign him, it’ll be for less money). Brandon Sutter’s boat anchor contract will be almost finished by then too, and Eriksson will probably be the only bloat against the cap. There will be plenty of raises to hand out between now and then, but this type of deal would give you the flexibility both to see if Bo is actually worth big money and to avoid bumping up against the cap during the rebuilding phase and having to hamper that process.

  • apr

    I think Bo is taking a huge risk, especially if there was a 5-6 year deal available for him at $5.25-$5.0. Yes 50-60 points may be first line points, but that will not wield him the $7-9 million that he may think he may get. I work for the government, and Bo is what we call “government hot”. Looks awesome in the office, but when you look around at the more broader population, well, not so much. I hope I’m wrong and that he can be a PPG player and warrant that $7-9 million that his agents think he can be.

  • Horvat’s agent doesn’t even need to look at other teams to demand more money. Forget what guys like McDavid or Johansen are making. All he had to do was point to the stats and contracts for Eriksson, Sutter, Dorsett and Sbisa.

  • Ragnarok Ouroboros

    I don’t generally trust rumours from Jason Botchford. Now if Bob McKenzie said it then I would believe it.
    A bridge deal doesn’t make any sense for the Canucks, unless Horvat’s camp is asking 6 million plus a season for a long term deal.

  • truthseeker

    If this is true, I personally think it’s a big mistake on the part of the canucks.

    I don’t see anything that tells me Bo is not going to continue to develop into a pretty great player. The main thing is the attitude and work ethic. He has that quality, like the Sedins, that they are just going to put their heads down and get the work done.

    I posted recently that the canucks have a great opportunity to build an extremely deep team with a lot of guys on good cap numbers. Basically sign guys to good deals so we have 3rd and 4th lines that can destroy the 3rd and 4th lines of the top heavy teams like the Hawks, Oilers, and Pens. Teams that have trouble filling out their rosters because they pay so much to a few guys.

    Well….this will be a big mistake. They could have locked up Horvat through his prime at a number like 5 million. Leaving a ton of room to do the same as soon as the opportunity arose for guys like Boeser, Stetcher, etc…

    Even if Bo plateaus and isn’t much better than what he is….the long term deal at about 5 million then only becomes a slight over pay or even decent value given the way contracts go.

    Now Bo will cost us a ton more when he does improve and we’ll have to sign him at 7 to 8 million per when he becomes a pretty dominant powerful “C”.

    Of course, we don’t know all the details, but if the could have got him at 8 years for 5 million….they should have.

    Stupid move by management on this if true. Kind of like when Benning wanted that “show me” year of Tanev. Stupid. There was nothing to show. The kid was amazing. Just bloody sign him long term.