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.