The Vancouver Canucks continue to tidy up their last pieces of business with the biggest news yet, as they have re-signed centre Bo Horvat to a six year, $33.0 million contract ($5.5 AAV).
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) September 8, 2017
The 9th overall pick from the 2013 NHL Entry draft posted 20 goals and 32 assists in 81 games for the Canucks last season before becoming an restricted free agent.
Back in December, I had explored what to expect from Horvat’s next contract and came to the conclusion at that time that $5.0M AAV would be the market. Since then, Horvat increased his production and the market has changed with players like Jonathan Drouin and Mika Zibanejad signing new contracts. Obviously different players but still adjusted what the fair market value was.
The deal keeps Horvat with the Canucks until he is 28 years old, buying two years of unrestricted free agent.
Based on his current production, the deal could be seen as an overpayment but that’s under the assumption that Horvat remains flat in his development and that the market hadn’t adjusted over the summer. If Horvat can take another step and push into the Top 45 in NHL scoring, which isn’t far fetched as he was 86th in scoring last season, then the deal is more than palatable. If he can also round out his defensive game while not seeing a dip in his production, that can make up the value in the contract.
Lastly, if the cap rises slightly over the next couple of years, then once again the difference is easily manageable.
Horvat has shown an upward trajectory in his development since joining the Canucks and is the future leader of this organization. So even if the sentiment is that it is a slight overpayment, there are enough positive factors to mitigate that concern and fans should be excited about the contract.
The Canucks are locking up a future core piece of this team for the next six years at a digestible cap hit that can help them continue to build towards the future even if it is an overpayment.
With Horvat signed, the Canucks have 47 contracts on the books for next season. They are currently $1,987,501 under the salary cap.