Bo Horvat is having the best start to a season of his career. The 27-year-old centre currently sits at 14 goals and 20 points through the first 18 games of the season. He has been one of the Canucks’ best forwards and consistently finds ways to put the puck in the back of the net.
This is great news for the Canucks. Their captain has seemingly taken another step forward and is turning into a goal-scoring dynamo. However, because the Canucks failed to get an extension done this offseason, Horvat is an unrestricted free agent this upcoming summer. With each goal he scores, his price goes up.
This has left the Canucks in a difficult situation. They would love to keep Horvat and be the beneficiaries of his increased goal-scoring output but it seems unlikely that they will be able to make it work. The J.T. Miller extension and other bloated contracts mean that there just isn’t much cap space to go around.
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This leaves a trade as the next most logical outcome. Horvat will certainly be an attractive trade piece as a centre that can score goals. He’s one of the best in the league on the power play and has plenty of desirable leadership traits. There will be teams lining up to put in an offer on the Ontario native.
Here are four of the teams that could be most interested in Horvat.

Columbus Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets made some big splashes this offseason as they managed to win the Johnny Gaudreau sweepstakes. Alongside the electric winger, the Blue Jackets also brought in former Canuck Erik Gudbranson and have a few young players that were expected to take another step.
Despite all these additions, the Blue Jackets have had a tough start to the season. They currently sit in eighth place in the Metropolitan division. To make things even worse, they just had to put winger Patrik Laine on the injured reserve with an ankle issue.
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The Blue Jackets will be looking to shake things up and salvage their season after the rough start. In terms of what they could offer the Canucks, the most desirable piece would be right-handed defenceman David Jiricek. However, it seems unlikely that the Blue Jackets would part with the amazing prospect without the guarantee of a Horvat extension.
Some other pieces the Canucks could target include NHL sophomore Cole Sillinger and prospect Denton Mateychuk.

Detroit Red Wings

The Detroit Red Wings have been one of the pleasant surprises of the start to the NHL season. They continue to prove that they’re rebuilding the right way and things even seem to be a little ahead of schedule. Dominik Kubalik has been on fire and is scoring at a better than point-per-game pace.
Adding Bo Horvat would help the Red Wings get a legitimate top-six centre and bolster their presence down the middle. He would also help the Red Wings power play which is currently converting at 18.75%, a few ticks below league average.
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The Canucks could target a package that includes prospects and picks in return. This would help build for the future while clearing out cap space. Some intriguing options include defenceman William Wallinder, a 6’4″ defenceman playing in the SHL or forward Marco Kasper, a 2022 NHL draft selection.

Boston Bruins

The Boston Bruins have been one of the hottest teams in the NHL to start the season. They’ve been firing on all cylinders and leaving the rest of the NHL in the dust. Patrice Bergeron refuses to age and this is all with Charlie McAvoy missing significant time due to injury.
While Bergeron and David Krejci give the Bruins a solid 1-2 punch down the middle, they do need to start planning for the future. Horvat would give them another dangerous player for the present while also giving them a plan for the post-Bergeron days. His reasonable contract this season would mean that they could find a way to fit him in for a run this year without losing anything too significant.
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An interesting package for the Canucks could start with NCAA defenceman Mason Lohrei. Standing 6’4″, he’s another big defenceman that would instantly become one of the Canucks’ top prospects on the blueline. He can carry the puck and has put up almost a point-per-game numbers during his time at Ohio State.

Edmonton Oilers

Last but not least, the Edmonton Oilers could make for an interesting trade partner. While the Canucks would likely shy away from dealing Horvat within the division, the Oilers do have some young players that might make this deal work. Horvat would give them another forward that could put the puck in the back of the net.
A power play with Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and Horvat would be a nightmare to defend against. Having the option to have those three players each centre a line would give the Oilers impressive depth down the middle, something that is usually a good indicator of playoff success.
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The Canucks might start by looking to get back Phillip Broberg. The Swedish defenceman’s development hasn’t gone perfectly since being picked in the top ten of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, but he still offers an intriguing skill set. If management doesn’t believe in him, looking to acquire Dylan Holloway would mean a good forward prospect coming back for Horvat.