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

Canucks sign Bo Horvat to six year contract

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).

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.

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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.

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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.

  • apr

    Someone put this in twitter.
    Hank’s 1st 3 seasons – 242 games – 33 goals – 71 assists – 104 points.
    Bo’s 1st 3 seasons – 231 games – 59 goals – 69 assists – 117 points
    Everyone was insanely hard on the Sedins in their first few years, and he has turned into be a HOF. Not saying that BO will be in HOF, but he has had a great start. Good contract and term. Petterson, Bo, Gaudette. That’s great depth down the middle going forward.

    • Doodly Doot

      Yup. Those are meaningful stats. Here’s something interesting.
      Draisaitl’s 1st 3 seasons – 191 games – 50 goals – 87 assists – 137 points – M$8.5
      When you compare how Bo and Leon were deployed, you can see what decent value we got with Horvat’s deal.

      • bobdaley44

        Can’t compare Leon to Bo. Not even near in the same class. Leon can do it all and has size to boot. Horvat’s playmaking is below average. Down the stretch Bo couldn’t handle top line duties while Leon was arguably better than Mcdavid in the playoffs. Would have preferred a bridge deal at just over 4.

  • Chris the Curmudgeon

    Agreed, slight overpayment, but definitely a deal we can live with. There’s an aspirational component to it, but not in the way that Sbisa’s contract was (ie: Luca was getting paid at the most optimistic ceiling of his potential after doing little to demonstrate that he was heading for that ceiling). Glad to have Bo back in the fold going into training camp.

  • Betty

    This is exactly the deal I was hoping for, brilliant for us in 8 or 9 years. In 6 years, we’ll re-evaluate, see where Petterson, Gaudette are after playing some games in the NHL and be able to figure out Bo appropriately. If we’d done a 2 year bridge deal, we’d still have no real clue about what those two would look like in the NHL and have to sign Bo to a long term contract based on best guesses.

    • Canuck4Life20

      It’s higher than I might have expected at the start of the summer, but based on some of the deals that were handed out by other teams I think it is completely reasonable. Let’s face it, Bo’s agent knew exactly what he was doing and waiting for other contracts to play out across the league was a smart strategy.

      • Kanucked

        Fair point, but with Wennberg at $4.9mm for the same term, it could be argued that the market hadn’t changed that much.

        Realistically, I don’t think the difference in salaries will matter. I think if Horvat improves, the deal will look good. Alternatively, if he doesn’t it won’t matter if we signed him to an annual salary of $5mm or $5.5mm.

        • Canuck4Life20

          Wennberg had 21 of his 46 assists on the league’s 12th ranked power play. Bo only had 7 of his 32 assists on the second unit of the league’s 29th ranked power play. They both had exactly the same number of assists at even strength. Wennberg had 13 goals while Bo had 20. That explains the $600K difference right there.

    • Yodadog

      I think far too many on here would say “drop the puck already, we are ready to troll”. It’s nice to read the comment section for a change and find actual comments.

  • Canuck4Life20

    Sounds like a fair deal to me. I can’t wait for training camp to start. There is so much intrigue this year about who will get those final one or two spots on the forward lines.

  • Moderated Post

    Looks like a very fair deal. Bo gets paid without getting tied down indefinitely, while the team locks him up at a reasonable price until the ship has hopefully started to turn around.

    The fact that the deal took so long to get done suggests that it was a compromise, but the end result seems quite fair to both, as long as Bo doesn’t pull a Cody.

    • truthseeker

      That’s a huge part of what makes this about as safe a signing as you can get with a pro athlete. The kid has done nothing but show poise, durability, a strong work ethic, a desire to improve every season (which he has done), and like you said, assume a leadership roll especially by example.

      I’m sure a ton of it is simply in Bo himself, but I really think you can’t underestimate the roll of the twins and Henrik especially, on Bo.

      Unfortunately, truly understanding the concept of “professionalism” can be tough for younger men. The ones like Bo are more rare for sure. A generation of terrible parents has failed to teach responsibility and professionalism to their children. To worried about their children “liking” them. It’s nice to see a kid like Bo. I guarantee you look at the parents and you’ll see people made sure to instill those qualities.

  • truthseeker

    Good deal for both sides. Not great either way.

    I would have liked to see an 8 year term at the same amount. Perhaps Bo wasn’t willing to sign that long though. Smart on his part if true. Hitting free agency at 28 will give him a much bigger pay day than at 30.

    Still, the canucks have him through most of his prime at what will be an amazing number in 3 to 4 years, and a decent number right now. Gives the team a lot of flexibility with future contracts. They need to do this type of thing with all their young talent if they look like they are turning into solid NHLers.

  • SJ

    Clearly this is why his agent made him wait. Look at all the big deals handed out over the summer. Given some of the precedents set in that last few months, I’d 5.5 is actually a small win. I could have seen it going as high as 6 given recent comparables.

  • Foximus

    I really like this deal. I think Bo will look like a deal at this price in a year or two. Add in his character and leadership and it really puts it over the top. Curious how the Schneider trade for the 9th pick (Horvat) looks in a few years.

  • RoCkFaThEr

    Thanks for the breaking news Ryan!
    I know it’s a late post ,I’ve been at work all day and I kept checking my phone for updates on your site.
    I heard it here first!

    • truthseeker

      yeah but Lu’s contract is no big deal. Less than a million right now, is it? And the guy will never “retire”. He’d be throwing away free money. Worst case scenario is we have to take him back from the Panthers and he goes on long term “injury”. We pay the cap on that. More likely the Panthers do that so they can make it easy to hit the cap floor and we pay virtually nothing in terms of cap hit. Probably some back room deal in there by both teams. Canucks pay the money and Florida takes the cap hit kind of thing.


    Leon Draisitl was sent back to junior for one year. After returning to the NHL Leon has scored 48 goals and 80 assists in the past 2 years plus a great playoff run. Bo is a hard working guy but 5.5 million for a 3rd line center seems like too much to pay. Might be a tough year for us Canucks fans.!!!