Exhale Vancouver, Bo is officially back.
After months of waiting, the Canucks announced yesterday that they had finally signed Bo Horvat to a six-year contract worth $33 million. The deal will see Horvat make $5.5 million per year through the 2022-23 season.
After a breakout 2016-17 campaign where he led the Canucks in scoring with 52 points, Horvat was due to get a well earned payday. But now that ink has been put to paper, the real work for Bo and his Canucks begins.
That’s right, I said his Canucks.
Of course, this is Henrik and Daniel’s team until they decide to call it quits. But with the Sedins’ potentially going on their farewell tour this season, Canucks’ management finally seem like they’re ready to turn the team over to the next generation, led by the 22 year-old from London, Ontario.
Horvat has represented a winning future to Canucks fans for all three years of his NHL career. He’s become Vancouver’s most valuable asset from both an on-ice and an off-ice standpoint. And he’ll be tabbed as the face of the franchise once the Sedins’ deals expire at the end of the season.
Yet some people feel that Horvat’s $5.5 million cap hit is too high, even for a player that’s considered to be a future Canucks’ captain. While right now that number seems pricey, at the rate that Bo is developing I think he could end up making this deal look like a steal for the Canucks in 2-3 years time.
As with most shiny new contracts, Horvat will enter the season with arguably the highest expectations of his career. And for a kid that the Canucks selected with the first rounder they got trading Cory Schneider to New Jersey, that says a lot. But for as fierce a competitor as Bo, those expectations will only fuel him to greater heights.
What this deal brings to the Canucks goes far beyond the talents of Horvat. It pushes management’s rebuilding plan forward and proves that Vancouver is a place where young prospects can grow and find success. That bodes well for Brock Boeser and Troy Stecher, who’ve already taken their first steps into successful NHL careers. The Utica Comets have shown great early returns on training the next generation, with Jake Virtanen, Nikolay Goldobin and Jonathan Dahlen hoping to continue that trend.
Fans will naturally want to see results before paying for tickets with confidence in a winning product, but there’s one thing Canucks Nation can certainly bank on going forward, and that’s the exciting, foundational piece that is Bo Horvat. The 2017-18 campaign will likely be another exhausting journey for Vancouver, but with Horvat wearing the blue and green for the next six seasons, fans can certainly look forward to an exciting new era that’s just around the corner. There’s plenty more rebuilding ahead, but when it’s all said and done, you can bet that he’ll be one leading the charge towards the Canucks’ first ever Stanley Cup.
After all, these are Bo Horvat’s Vancouver Canucks.