After a summer of waiting and wondering, Bo Horvat has signed a brand new contract with the Vancouver Canucks. And no, it’s not a bridge deal as a report last week suggested. Yes, this time it’s official.
The Canucks announced they have signed Horvat to a long term, six-year deal worth $5.5 million per season.
“Bo has quickly become a foundational player on our team and we’re thrilled for him to be a part of what we’re building here long term,” GM Jim Benning said in a media release. “His commitment and work ethic have helped his game improve each season. He’s already a leader on our team and a young player fans can be excited to watch for years to come.”
The deal matches what Jonathan Drouin received from the Montreal Canadiens earlier this summer. Horvat is now the fourth-highest paid player on the Canucks in terms of average annual value, behind only the Sedins ($7 million each) and Loui Eriksson ($6 million).
“It’s a great feeling to be able to continue my career for six more seasons in Vancouver and I’m grateful to the Aquilini family and Canucks management group for making this possible,” said Horvat. “Since being drafted by the Canucks, I have been welcomed by fans with open arms and I’m incredibly proud and fortunate to call this city and province home. I couldn’t be more excited to help this team win.”
Horvat is a 22-year-old centre with a bright future. In just his third NHL season, he led the Canucks in scoring with 52 points.
He appears to be a captain in waiting, and should get better with age.
Just how good, remains to be seen.
The Rodney, Ontario native was projected to be a two-way second line centre when he was drafted in 2013. His early offensive success in the NHL could suggest that becoming a bonafide No. 1 centre isn’t out of the question though.
The only critique for this contract is that the dollar figure is a little high. Comparable player contracts suggested Horvat deserved about $5 million per season. Blue Jackets centre Alexander Wennberg, who was drafted the same year as Horvat and has put up nearly identical numbers, received a six-year deal worth $4.9 million per season last week.
Still, getting their best young player signed long term should be a relief for Canucks management. It took all summer to get it done, but they should be happy to have Horvat in the fold for at least six more years.