Bo Horvat is backing Elias Pettersson as the new captain of the Vancouver Canucks.
Horvat’s departure to the New York Islanders in a stunning trade earlier this week has left the Canucks without a captain, but the outgoing leader seems ready to pass on the duty.
“He’d be my vote if it came to it and I’m sure one of these days it’s going to go on his chest,” Horvat said at the NHL All-Star Game Media Day on Thursday, according to NHL.com. “So, if it does, I couldn’t be more happy for him and he’s obviously going to be a great captain.”
Horvat was the 14th captain in franchise history.
Pettersson, who coach Rick Tocchet confirmed would receive a letter alongside defenceman Quinn Hughes, would be the 15th if Horvat got his way.
“He’s grown even more this year with his leadership on the ice,” Horvat said. “He’s starting to say stuff in the room, and he’s really come into his own this year. I can’t say enough good stuff about Petey, the way he’s played this year and the way he handles himself, and he’s emerging as a great leader and a great player and I’m sure he’s going to take on a bigger role here, an even bigger role than he already has.”
Though he’s now a member of the Metropolitan Division’s New York Islanders, Horvat and Pettersson will be teammates at the All-Star Game. Pettersson was one of 32 initial players designated for the experience, and Horvat was voted in by fans.
The NHL announced on Wednesday that Horvat will still play for the Pacific Division, wearing a reverse retro New York Islanders jersey in the skills competition with a Pacific Division patch on it for the Skills Competition. His jersey for the All-Star Game with the Pacific will have an Islanders shoulder patch.
Pettersson, the No. 5 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, is first in team scoring with 58 points (21 goals, 37 assists) in 47 games with the Canucks this season, and has 279 points (118 goals, 161 assists) in 292 games over parts of five seasons in Vancouver.
He called one last spin with Horvat as his teammate “The last ride, I guess.”