Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin - USA TODAY Sports

McKenzie: Canucks and Horvat working on deal north of five years, $5 million annually

According to Bob McKenzie, the Canucks and Restricted Free Agent Bo Horvat and closing in on a six- or seven-year contract worth more than $5 million annually. Last week, it was reported by Jason Botchford that Horvat would be signing a bridge deal coming out if entry-level contract, though his agent denied that claim.

Horvat is coming off of his third season in the NHL in which he put up a career-high and team-leading 20 goals and 52 points. His season was good enough to land him a spot on the Pacific Division’s All-Star squad, but there are still questions as to whether Horvat is the marquee, play driving, top line player that you can build a successful franchise around.

The idea of a bridge deal made sense for the Canucks because the Sedin twins are entering the final season of their respective contracts and a two- or three-year contract would allow the front office to determine whether or not Horvat was capable of filling their shoes adequately. That said, if Horvat did sign a shorter term contract and developed into a star player, he would command a much, much bigger salary on his third deal than what the Canucks could get him for right now.

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A six- or seven-year deal worth somewhere between $5.5-$6.5 million annually has been the standard for good forwards with draft pedigree coming off of their entry-level deals in the past few years. Sean Monahan, Nathan MacKinnon, and Sasha Barkov, to name a few, were handed similar contracts to the one McKenzie suggested Horvat may receive. That said, Leon Draisaitl’s mammoth eight-year, $68 million contract in Edmonton might have tipped the scales for productive forwards negotiating their second contracts.

  • Chris the Curmudgeon

    By “north of 5 million” is he thinking like 5.1 million or 6 million? The former I could live with, the latter would be a tough sell for me.

    The Draisaitl comparison is asinine. While Leon is a little overpaid he’s also basically a point/game player while Bo isn’t close to that yet. And to preempt any “McDavid’s linemate” comments, Draisaitl also outperformed McDavid by a considerable margin in the playoffs too. Draisaitl looks like a 1A center, while Bo still kinda looks like a 2. Big, big difference.

    • Sk0ly

      I agree mostly. The only part that I don’t fully agree with is Draisatl’s performance in the playoffs. While true on the scoresheet, you have to remember that McDavid had a giant target on his back. They were all over him and double teaming him. Not only does this hamper his production, it gives Draisatl space to dangle.

      Overall though, a 5 year 5.1-5.4 would be about right in my mind. Similar to the recent signing of Neiderreiter

  • truthseeker

    Hopefully this is correct.

    Again…we don’t have a couple of high end guys so we need to build an extremely deep team. The only way you can do that is to get your best young players as cheap as possible and as long as possible. Before their performance prices you out of building a deep team.

    Sure it’s a bit of a gamble. But so is signing a guy to 8-10 million per year even if they’ve proven themselves. Plus Bo has that Sedin work ethic quality. He’s already proven himself a professional. There is no reason to think he can’t improve. It’s as safe a bet on a player as you could hope for.

    I say give him the full 8 years. Carries us through until he’s 30. Bo in his prime at 5 million a year? That will be ridiculously good value in 3 or 4 years.

      • truthseeker

        lol…depends on how much they pay me!

        Really I kind of liked the way Mike Gillis approached contracts. The difference though was he had to try to convince guys who were already in their primes, to take less when they could have made more. He dangled the NTC carrot to make that happen. That was his biggest mistake, although he didn’t really have much of a choice given he wasn’t around when the opportunity was their to sign Kes and the Sedins at a younger age.

        They can take his basic model and adapt it to the young kids coming up. The sooner you sign them long term the less yearly money you have to pay them and you probably don’t have to give any significant NTCs.

        That way you have the best of the “Gillis” model but without any of the headaches later on when you want to dump a player.

    • Sk0ly

      I don’t agree. I would say no more than 5 years. We still don’t fully know where his potential caps out or if last year was an anomaly. As much as Edmonton is happy locking up their top guys, they are screwed long term and if they don’t win a cup in the next three years they will be completely handcuffed come time to resign guys like Talbot.

      Look at that top line for example 27 mil for three players. Their top four d is just as bad, 17 mil. Combined that is 44 mil on 7 players. Talbot is likely at least another 5 mil on that. Doesn’t leave a lot of room for your second line signings.

      • truthseeker

        He’s already almost a 5 million dollar player. His stats last year are pretty close to that. I’m not sure why anyone would think last year was an anomaly. He showed slight improvements on his rookie year in his stats. A few more goals, a few more assists, lowered his +/- by a huge amount. He’s obviously already assumed a leadership roll. All the while he looked totally comfortable doing it. I don’t see any reason to be nervous about Horvat’s progression. I mean, sure it’s possible he falls off the rails and turns into a complete failure, but you could say that about any player. Even McDavid.

        And I’m not sure why you’re bringing up the oilers….that’s exactly what I’ve been arguing against. Horvat isn’t going to cost what McDavid or Draisaitl does. Unless we “bridge” contract him and then he most certainly will be way more expensive. Maybe not those guys but probably 7-8 million after he puts up a 70 point year.

        My point is, the canucks should make it a goal to have no 7+ million players on their roster. After Boeser’s entry level, sign him to 8 years at 6 million. Juolevi…same..etc…(provided they aren’t failures of course).

        That way you have flexibility. If one guy isn’t earning his keep, then he’s not too much of a anchor in terms of cap. And really there are always ways out of “bad” contracts. If Lu can be traded with only minimal cap retention then dumping a “non productive” Bo Horvat at 5 million per, will be a piece of cake. Especially when he will still be young and another team will think they can “turn him around” with a “fresh start”.

        Look at what happened with PK and the Canadians. They “bridged” him and then had to pay him 9 million per. They probably could have had him long term at 6 or so. Of course it does depend on the player and we never know all the details, but still.

        Bottom line is even if Horvat remains a “50 point” player, with “inflation” he’ll still be value at 5 million per.

  • Missing Lou

    I say we sign Bo for 8 years and lock him in. Vancouver can move him up and down the line up depending on how good the drafts/prospects turn out. Bo will be at the very least a great 2nd center for years to come.

  • Peggy McIntosh

    “My expectation is Horvat’s new deal is likely to have a term north of 5 years (6 or 7?) and an AAV north of $5M (but not $6M).”

    “Based on VAN GM Jim Benning’s comments this week, it sounds like the Canucks are closing in on a new contract for RFA centre Bo Horvat.”

    BobMac is trying to connect the dots like everybody else.

    I still favour a 3 year term over 6 years.

    Either way, the Canucks likely want Horvat for one more contract beyond the one he will sign in the next few days.

    Wouldn’t it be better that his mega contract expire at 32 instead of 35?

    • Betty

      >Wouldn’t it be better that his mega contract expire at 32 instead of 35?

      I’d rather this was his mega contract and give him 6 or 7 years. Even at 5, by the time it expires, we should have had a reasonable look at Petterson and Gaudette and from there can decide if they’ll be able to shoulder the load going forward or if we need Bo (and if so, for how long).

      If we do a bridge, our future 1C by the end of Bo’s contract is still unclear (even in 3 years, it’s unlikely we know what we have in Petterson) so the negotiations would be somewhat blind in terms of what’s coming for the Canucks.

  • “…a two- or three-year contract would allow the front office to determine whether or not Horvat was capable of filling their [the Sedins] shoes adequately.”

    Given that the Sedins are future Hall of Famers, those are pretty big shoes.

    • I get that you’re trolling but I’ll indulge you. You forgot about the 2011 Ted Lindsay for Daniel Sedin and the 2010 Hart and 2016 King Clancy for Henrik Sedin. 2x Presidents Trophy winners. Currently #82 and #90 in all-time points, #87 and #98 in all-time games played, and still going. Henrik has the 7th longest iron man streak at 679 games. And I heard they were good at the cycle game too.

      • confused canuck

        I’m still confused, and I’m not trolling? It is my personal belief that the Sedins are not HHOF material. In my opinion only Canucks fans and the uniqueness of the Sedins being identical twins are what is driving this particular bus for fans such as yourself. Good players sure, Hall of famers alongside Gretzky, Lemieux, Orr, Selanne and Messier? No chance.

        Sorry, but if you don’t reach the pinnacle of your career by winning the cup in two decades then you shouldn’t be in the Hall, whose centerpiece is the Stanley Cup itself, and yes, that includes other players such as Bure, Lindros and Gartner who don’t belong there.

        The BC sports hall of fame, sure, but Henrik and Daniel in the HHOF, nada.

        There, i’m not confused anymore, are you?

        • sloth

          Maybe you’re not trolling but you are clearly inventing your own biased criteria for who you think should and shouldn’t be in the Hockey Hall of Fame. It’s not the NHL Hall of Fame and the Stanley Cup is certainly not the “centerpiece” in a symbolic or ideological sense. There are players in the hall who never played an NHL game, let alone won a Cup (eg Vladislav Tretiak), because the criteria for admission is “playing ability, sportsmanship, character and contributions to his or her team or teams and to the game of hockey in general.”

          If you can look past your silly tribal NHL fandom, you might notice the Sedins did in fact win Olympic Gold Medals, which are in many ways more rare, significant, and prestigious than an NHL championship.

          But if not, perhaps you would notice the Sedins are both in the top 10 for NHL career points among active players, and will almost certainly retire with that stat intact, so it’s pretty clear they have been truly elite over the course of their careers. Of the seven players above them in that list, only three have won a Stanley Cup (Jagr, Hossa, Crosby, all first-ballot HHOFers), while another three have already passed “the pinnacle” of their careers without a Cup (Thornton, Iginla, Marleau). Ovechkin is the only player above them with a chance to win a Cup in his prime.

          So if the Stanley Cup is so important, what do you think about this one? If the Leafs win the Cup in the next couple years with Marleau playing a middle-6 bit-part role, does he deserve to be in the Hall of Fame ahead of Iginla and the Sedins, who led their teams to 6- and 7-game losses in the SCF at the peak of their primes? Do guys like Zetterberg, Staal, Getzlaf, or Gaborik (11th, 13th, 15th, 16th in career pts among active players) get into the Hall with less illustrious individual careers (no scoring titles or MVP awards other than Zetterberg’s Conn Smythe) because they won the Cup at some point?

          • sloth

            Here’s another interesting NHL stat. Since 1980, only 14 players have won the Art Ross Trophy:

            Gretzky, Lemieux, Jagr, Iginla, Forsberg, St-Louis, Thornton, Crosby, Ovechkin, Malkin, H. Sedin, D. Sedin, Benn, Kane, and McDavid.

            Make of that what you will.

        • Big D, little d

          >> There, i’m not confused anymore, are you?

          The schtick works better if you keep up the charade that you’re confused. Once you state your opinion and claim to have cleared up the confusion it becomes a little too on the nose.

          And since I’ve already broken the rule about not feeding the trolls, I’ll note that it’s the Hockey Hall of Fame, not the Hockey Hall of People Who’ve Won the Stanley Cup. There are criteria for fame other than winning the Stanley Cup.

          • erikrolfsen

            Exactly. I believe they belong regardless, but the fact that they’re twins who play such a unique style makes them more famous, and hence is an argument in favour, not against, their entry. (And while we’re kicking Gartner out, how about Hawerchuk, too? Manitoba sports hall of fame, sure.)

        • bobdaley44

          Thank god they traded Ray Bourque to Colorado or under your standards he wouldn’t be in the HHOF. Next up for induction Lee Fogolin. Sixth d-man for the Oilers but he’s got a few rings. Sedins deserve to be in the HHOF. These guys were magic and influenced the game. Slap pass deflections, the cycle and end to end backboard rebounds are a few. Absurd to think they don’t deserve to be in but Brendan Shanahan does?

    • confused canuck

      I’m confused. Why are the Sedins Hall of Famers? One scoring title each and zero Stanley Cups in 18 plus years hardly merits a Hall induction? If that was the case, might as well put Ryan Kesler or Trevor Linden in!

  • Freud

    Wennberg is the same age as Horvat and just had 2 better boxcar seasons than Horvat. Wennberg also led CBJ in centre icetime. He just got 6 yrs at M$4.9. Why would Benning be willing to go higher than 5 if this is a comparable from just this week? If this team truly plans to contend in 3 years these deals now matter a lot.

        • Doodly Doot

          You sound confused DJ. The NHL salary cap is the total amount of money that National Hockey League teams are allowed to pay their players. A player’s ‘cap hit’ value is the annual average salary excluding performance bonuses. I guess I can’t assume you read my root post, because I stated clearly that I think giving Horvat more years at a “lower cap hit” is a good thing. Contract term and total salary are the two distinct ‘numbers’ that make up that ‘cap hit’. So… actually, that’s how it works. Check your motivations and intentions when replying to posts. Respect.

          • DJ_44

            I read your post….you are wrong… With valuable to rfas like Bo, aav increases with contract term.

            …unless you are attempting to pull what Gilman tried which is against the rules.
            With Bo, the shorter the term, the lower the aav, since you are buying less(or none at all in the case of a bridge contact) of the ufa years.

            I’ll make it simple….3 yr….$.3.75m aav………6 yr…5.2m aav

          • DJ_44

            Last time.

            because I stated clearly that I think giving Horvat more years at a “lower cap hit” is a good thing.

            Here is the thing, what you think is a good thing is not how contracts for RFAs of Bo’s stature work. Longer the term the bigger the cap hit. Anything longer than 2-3 yr bridge will cost more in every year, when looking at the cap hit (and AAV, since they are one an the same for this type of contract — signing bonuses count, and so do performance bonuses if conditions are met,). I will make it simple for you.

            3 years for $11.25M (cap hit and AAV = 3.75) or six years at $31.2M (cap hit and AAV = 5.2M)

            ….so who exactly is confused?

          • Doodly Doot

            Here, let me help you out a bit. In the NHL:
            Annual Average Salary (AAV) represents salary ‘plus’ bonuses;
            ‘Cap Hit’ is a very important number that is discovered by subtracting bonuses from Annual Average Salary (AAV).

            The Cap Ceiling for a team this year is M$75. The Cap Hit is a number that represents a specific contract ‘value’ for a player related to the total allowable under the Cap Ceiling. We all want a low Cap Hit for Bo. That way, management can more easily afford to pay other good players on the team like Bo and keep them! Hopefully each of their Cap Hits are also low. That’s a good thing. Let’s move on to Bo’s contract.

            Negotiation is when two or more parties work to come to an agreement. In this case, the parties are working to come up with a ‘number’ for his total salary that they can agree on. Some numbers are really ‘big’, and others are a bit ‘smaller’. When they agree on a number, they sign a contract to make it binding, then everyone can do some simple math and discover the ‘cap hit’. Remember: ‘Cap Hit’ is Annual Average Salary (AAV) minus bonuses. It’s so cool!
            You should focus on total contract value and everything will make sense.
            It’s ok DJ to be confused. Nobody is judging you. Good luck!

          • Doodly Doot

            DJ, it’s gonna be ok. If you let go of your obsession with your pretend bridge deal, which has nothing to do with what I’ve been talking about and focus on what I’ve been saying all along about a ‘long term deal’: I prefer negotiating more contract years in exchange for a lower cap hit. It’s been fun! Take care.

  • Ragnarok Ouroboros

    It’s funny how TSN analysts Taylor and Botchford were saying the deal was already signed, and that the deal was a bridge deal. Turns out there was no deal signed. TSN thought sportnet was going to get an exclusive regarding the Horvat signing when the new sportsnet radio station went live last Monday, so TSN tried to scoop sportsnet by throwing some guesses out there.
    Now that Bob MacKenzie is reporting an imminent deal I can trust the report because he is very reliable with his rumours.

  • Doodly Doot

    I don’t understand why all the fuss about length of contract. Isn’t longer term and lower cap hit the dream? The market values are clear and established. I can’t help but think of how easy it seemed for ‘this management group’ to drop 6 for 6 for Eriksson (he makes M$8 this year, woo woo!). Painful incompetence of this nature can’t be mitigated by trying (in vain) to hustle your emerging high-end talent. Benning is smarter than this, right?

  • confused canuck

    I’m confused. I personally find it in very distasteful how commenters opinionate on who should earn what. None of your concern and noneya business, it’s not your money. In a capatalist society you earn what you can and it’s nobodys business whatsoever.

    For me it’s weird that NHL player salaries are public knowledge and it’s weirder still that people feel they have a right to discuss it. Please don’t, it’s classless and rude… isn’t it?

    • Doodly Doot

      I respect your right to think public knowledge of NHL salaries and discussion of it is weird, distasteful, classless, rude and other interesting descriptives. That has no bearing on the fact that these numbers are public knowledge and fascinating details for many media and hockey fans of what goes into building a quality hockey club. Thank you for sharing your opinion. My answer to your last question is: no it isn’t.

      • confused canuck

        Interesting. So in that case I want to know how much you earn. I also want to know how much money you have in savings or stashed away, what your house or apartment is worth and what you do for a living with ful job description. Then we can all discuss it, criticise it and decide if you are worthy of your job, salary, house and lifestyle… comfortable with that?

        • Ragnarok Ouroboros

          You don’t have a vested interest in knowing what he makes so it is irrelevant and impolite to ask. If, however, you were investing money in him, you would have a vested interest in knowing how he would manage that money and his finances may become relevant then. It all depends on context.

    • Ragnarok Ouroboros

      People want to know the salary, so they can know how a player fits within the Salary Cap. Thus, they can know more about how their team is being built collectively with all the players signed, and what the team can do at the trade deadline and for off season free agent signings. It’s all part of a fan getting to know their team and is completely valid. Ultimately the fans pay the player salaries, and thus have a very vested interest in where their dollars are going.

    • truthseeker

      6 would be the absolute top of my willingness range at this point, but that better be very long term. Basically when I say they should try to get him at 5 mil over long term…7 or 8 years, that to me would be a bit of a steal for the canucks. 6 mil per would be the number more fair for Bo. Especially if he continues his trend of yearly improvement. Any number within that range is a good one in my opinion. Over 6 and it’s starting to be too much of a cap burden.