The Vancouver Canucks will name their 14th captain in franchise history tonight. It has to be Bo Horvat.
Sure, fans and media have halfheartedly tried to come up with other contenders. We needed something to talk about this summer.
Alex Edler, Chris Tanev, and Brandon Sutter wear A’s on their jerseys, but none scream ‘captain’ like Horvat does.
Elias Pettersson is the team’s best player, and perhaps he’ll be their best leader one day too. But not today, at the tender age of 20 with only one NHL season under his belt. And not when the team has a perfectly good option ready for the role right now.
Horvat was pegged as a future captain the day the Canucks drafted him in 2013 and he hasn’t disappointed since. In his sixth NHL season, Horvat always seems to say the right things to the media and stays away from trouble off the ice.
On the ice, the 24-year-old has improved every season he’s been in the league. Horvat put up 61 points last season — the second-highest point total by a Canuck in the last four seasons — and he should get even better.
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While the Canucks are building anticipation by keeping the decision a secret until the third game of the regular season, it’s quite clear who the choice is.
Tonight’s announcement isn’t meant to be a surprise. Anyone that has followed the team closely understands that.
Instead, the Canucks are trying to give fans a moment they can remember and they’re giving Horvat his moment in the spotlight. It’s the exact same thing they did in 2010 for their 40th anniversary, when Henrik Sedin was named captain.
Instead of handing Horvat the C before last season, the Canucks smartly decided to wait. It was the right decision because it removed unnecessary pressure from Horvat’s shoulders. The player took a huge step forward in his development last season, with an A on his jersey for the first time. It was a transition year, with everyone understanding that he was the frontrunner to receive the C this season.
And now, it’s his — at least it should be.
Guess we’ll have to tune in tonight (7 pm on Sportsnet) to make sure.