Updated: 10:55 a.m. with Vancouver Canucks statement
Well, this isn’t good.
After finding out yesterday that Bo Horvat was going to be getting an MRI after leaving Tuesday’s game with a leg injury, we should have been somewhat prepared for this, but that won’t make it any easier. While we’ve yet to hear anything official from the Canucks, the word is that Horvat could miss up to six weeks with an injury, according to Sportsnet’s Irfaan Gaffar.
Hearing timeline for this is closer to six weeks for Horvat. So, yes, not good. https://t.co/BwnExjmVhc
— Irfaan Gaffar (@sportsnetirf) December 7, 2017
That highly unfortunate timeline was then reiterated by Grady Sas, a Vancouver native and producer with TSN in Toronto. The team had already made reactionary moves, calling up centre Michael Chaput from Utica (as well as goaltender Thatcher Demko is what is likely a cap-based maneuver).
The Canucks have now confirmed that the injury is a fractured foot, and although the timeline hasn’t been confirmed, head coach Travis Green did mention that it could be up to six weeks.
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) December 7, 2017
Six weeks is an awfully long time for a team to be without their first line centre. The Christmas break will ease the burden a little bit, but if it happened to be six weeks exactly, being January 18th, 2018, it would mean that Horvat would miss the next 17 games, returning on January 20th against Edmonton. Now, these timelines are rarely dead on, but it’s probably safe to say that it will be a while before we see Bo Horvat back in the lineup.
Horvat’s 10 goals and 20 points are both currently second on the team, as are his 65 shots on goal (unsurprisingly, Brock Boeser leads in all those categories), and he leads all forwards in average ice time, 18:36 per game. His 2.05 points per hour at 5-on-5 is third among regulars, and he leads the team in penalty differential, drawing seven and taking zero at evens so far (perhaps a highly underrated aspect of his value at this point).
The analytics tell us that faceoffs tend to be a bit overrated, but the fact that Horvat is seventh in the NHL in total faceoffs taken (with 593) and is winning 52.4% of them is far from insignificant. With Brandon Sutter also out, this area is likely to become a struggle for Vancouver. We’ll have to see if they can make it up in other areas.
Alex Burmistrov, who’s been a healthy scratch for nine of Vancouver’s last 11 games, will likely get an extended chance to show that he belongs in the lineup again. Beyond that, the Canucks are going to need a lot of players to step up in Horvat’s absence, or this could be a very long six weeks. On the bright side, the Sedins and Eriksson are currently playing their best hockey in the past season and a half – the Canucks are going to need that to continue if they want to hold on to the playoff spot that they currently occupy.