It’s that time of year in the hockey world, when snow has begun to fall in many places and we prep for the holidays. Teams have settled into their schedules in earnest, and we have a more clear idea of the contenders, pretenders, and lottery teams around the league. It’s also around this time when the trade rumors start to swirl. For the Blue Jackets, the current gossip surrounds Vancouver Canucks center Bo Horvat.
Why it’s a good idea to trade for Bo Horvat…
First, let’s take a look at the player. Originally selected by the Canucks with their 1st round pick (#9 overall) at the 2011 NHL Draft, Horvat is in his 9th season in the NHL. He’s spent the last 4 seasons as captain of the Canucks, and has developed into a very good two-way, middle six center in the NHL.
He’s a veteran of 589 NHL games, with 184 goals, 386 points, and 194 penalty minutes in his career. The issue at hand: he’s the third best center on the Canucks, behind superstar Elias Pettersson (signed through next season for $7.35M AAV) and JT Miller (signed through 2029-30, $8M AAV beginning next year); and he wants a big raise over his current cap hit of $5.5M.
The appeal for the Blue Jackets is obvious. He’s a quality NHL center, and we don’t have many of those in Columbus. Currently we have our veteran third line left wing (Boone Jenner) centering our top line. Our second line center (Jack Roslovic) was recently a healthy scratch, and never left the bench for most of the third period last night. Our third line center (Cole Sillinger) is probably the best we have; but he’s only 19. Sean Kuraly, on the fourth line, is probably the only player we have down the middle who is actually suited for his active role.
No doubt, this is an issue. A trade for Bo Horvat would give the team a guy who can probably center Patrik Laine and Johnny Gaudreau on the top line, and help the team stem the tide until some of their prospects are ready. His skill, leadership, and play style definitely fits in here. At 27 years old, he even fits the age range to play with Gaudreau for the next several years.
But, that isn’t to say everything would be perfect. There are a few concerns I would have with acquiring Bo Horvat, and it’s important that we temper our expectations. This trade has to work for both sides…