At least five teams have been identified as having trade interest in Bo Horvat, and the Boston Bruins are reportedly one of them.
Longtime hockey reporter Jimmy Murphy of Boston Hockey Now is reporting that trade talks have picked up recently concerning Horvat, with the Bruins interested in acquiring the Vancouver Canucks captain.
Horvat has been the “centre of attention” for Bruins GM Don Sweeney, Murphy said.
Murphy’s source told him the Canucks’ price remains high on Horvat, with rival GMs wanting assurance that they’ll be able to re-sign the pending unrestricted free agent.
Other teams interested in Horvat include the Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings, Carolina Hurricanes, and Seattle Kraken, according to the report.
Horvat is due a big raise on his $5.5 million annual salary this summer. With 30 goals in just 43 games, Horvat is on pace to become the first Canucks player since Pavel Bure to score more than 50 goals in a season.
But he may be pricing himself out of town.
Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford didn’t provide much optimism that the team could re-sign its captain during Monday’s press conference.
“We, I believe, have taken our best shot, and the contract that we have on the table for Bo right now, I think is a fair contract for what he’s done up until this year. But it’s certainly under market value for what he’s done this year. So we’re in a pickle here. He’s had a career year, a career run, and he’s looking for his money. He deserves it, I don’t blame him.”
The Canucks would surely love to get a young centre or defenceman as part of a package for Horvat. The Bruins don’t appear to be a great trading partner, given they have one of the worst prospect pools in the NHL, according to The Athletic. Boston’s top-rated prospect is Fabian Lysell, a former Vancouver Giants winger, who has 21 points in 24 AHL games this season.
If there ever was a year for the Bruins to go all-in, it’s this season. They’re the runaway leaders in the NHL’s overall standings, with 72 points — 10 points clear of the next closest team.
David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron, and David Krejci are all pending UFAs, with the latter two likely pondering retirement, so it may be now or never for Boston.
As for how the other teams with reported interest in Horvat stack up, the Colorado Avalanche have a clear need for a No. 2 centre after losing Nazem Kadri in free agency. The Avs are four points back of a playoff spot, but the defending Stanley Cup champions clearly still have high aspirations. But like Boston, Colorado doesn’t have a deep prospect pool, with The Athletic ranking them 32nd.
Carolina has a much deeper prospect pool than the Bruins and Avalanche and is also a Stanley Cup contender. Perhaps 6-foot-2 right-shot defenceman Scott Morrow would pique Vancouver’s interest. The 20-year-old blueliner has 20 points in 22 NCAA games this season.
Seattle has had a surprise season and could be poised for their first-ever playoff appearance. But would they be willing to give up the assets required to get Horvat in just their second season? With Matty Beniers already contributing and Shane Wright on the way, they appear to be set long-term at centre.