The plot thickens. Vancouver Canucks management has said repeatedly since the end of last season during the bye-bye interviews that “Bo Horvat is our captain” and that they had every intention of getting a new deal done. The left-shot centre is presently putting up career numbers in his contract year.
Now the Canucks have a solid comparable should they actually decide to ‘double-down’ once again on this current forward core, having signed winger Brock Boeser to a three-year deal and forward J.T. Miller to a seven-year deal during the off-season.
The Dallas Stars just signed first line centre Roope Hintz to an eight-year deal worth $8.45-million per season starting next fall. Also a lefty, Hintz turned age-26 earlier this month, Horvat turns 28 in April. They offer similar bulk, both weighing 215-pounds, while Hintz is three inches taller than the six-foot Horvat.
Both players have 24 points in 22 games played this season; torrid paces in contract years, not an unusual phenomenon for NHL players. That’s not cynical, it’s just a fact.
Statistical comparisons can only go back three seasons. Hintz arrived from Finland as he turned 22 and split time in the 2018-’19 season in the NHL and AHL. Horvat, other than five AHL games his rookie season, is in his ninth fulltime NHL campaign.
Since 2019, previous to this season, Hintz averaged .82-points per game with 71 goals scored while Horvat averaged .74-points per game with 72 goals scored. Comparable would definitely be a fair description.
Now it comes down to what really matters, whether the Canucks brass wants to make the commitment to this player. That’s a lot of bank that will require other moves to be made to fit the captain under the cap. They have nothing else of significance expiring other than Micheal Ferland’s long-term injured reserve salary, which isn’t a cap factor anyway.
They could choose Horvat over one of the other two players they’ve already signed. Boeser doesn’t have any version of a no-move clause while Miller’s doesn’t kick in until next season with his new deal.
That’s the money one is looking at and that’s the decision the Canucks must make.