Bo Horvat isn’t on the move just yet.
But two teams appear to be the frontrunners to land the Vancouver Canucks captain, according to NHL insider Nick Kypreos — the Dallas Stars and New Jersey Devils.
“Hearing that the Stars and Devils are among teams that may be most aggressive for Canucks captain Bo Horvat,” Kypreos wrote in a column for the Toronto Star. “Both organizations want an extended playoff run and seem willing to pay for it.”
The Stars sit atop the Western Conference standings with a 28-13-9 record for 65 points, and the Devils are second in the Metropolitan Division with 66 points by way of a 31-12-4 mark.
The Canucks, however, might not be ready to part with the 27-year-old pending unrestricted free agent.
The team could be making one last-ditch effort to sign him.
“I believe the Canucks are still looking at ways to keep Horvat, as tough as that may be,” Rick Dhaliwal said on the Donnie & Dhali Show on Monday. “Maybe let him spend some time with [Rick] Tocchet; see if that changes.”
Horvat has a team-leading 31 goals, along with 19 assists in 47 games this season, and is well on his way to cruising past his career high of 61 points.
His current six-year, $33 million deal signed in 2017 will expire at season’s end.
“I believe we 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,” Canucks president Jim Rutherford said last week. “He’s had a career year, a career run, and he’s looking for his money. He deserves it. I don’t blame him.”
Vancouver has limited cap space heading into next season.
The Canucks have $74.5 million committed to 15 contracts next season, according to Cap Friendly, including the recently-inked two-year, $11 million contract extension for Andrei Kuzmenko signed Thursday.
“Can they send one final offer Horvat’s way? The two sides did talk over the weekend,” Dhaliwal said.
“As of [Sunday], he does not have permission to talk to teams. I fully believe the Canucks will not give him permission. I believe they feel that when you get the agent’s permission, you lose leverage and narrative in the situation.”