Bo Horvat THW Close-Up:
Date of birth: 4/5/1995
Place of birth: Rodney, Ont.
Ht: 6’00″ Wt: 198
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2013 1st year eligible
THW Ranking (January 2013): 20
[NHL 2013 Draft Guide – The Next Ones Draft Headquarters: Your quintessential draft resource]
The Skinny on Bo Horvat
The OHL”s London Knights have been the launching pad for several 1st-round quality forwards over the past 20 years, including the likes of Jason Allison, Rick Nash, Corey Perry, Patrick Kane, Sam Gagner, John Tavares and Nazem Kadri. During that period of time, however, such names as Rico Fata, Rob Schremp & Brendan Harris have also attempted to make the leap from London to the NHL, with limited amounts of success.
In 2013, the name “Bo Horvat” is likely to be called at some point in the first-round, and chances are he will likely join the former group in terms of Knights who have gone on to succeed at the NHL level.
Selected 9th overall by the London Knights in the OHL’s 2011 Priority Selection Draft, Horvat is currently in his second season, and has shown drastic improvement this year over his first. In 2011-12, Horvat scored 11 goals and 19 assists in 64 games for the Knights, while adding only 1 goal and 3 assists in 18 playoff games. The experience of going on a Memorial Cup run as a 16-year old must have served him well, however, because in 2012-13 season, Horvat has exploded for 33 goals and 28 assists in 67 games, with a playoff story still yet to be written.
The major junior hockey post-season is typically seen as the proving ground for prospects, the point where the accelerated develops gain separation. London centre Bo Horvat has done so through the first three rounds of post-season, making a case that 18-going-on-25 style makes him an OHL playoff MVP candidate … Nine goals in 14 playoff games would be impressive in and of itself. Horvat (whose minor hockey odyssey, incidentally, was chronicled entertainingly in Ken Campbell’s acclaimed book Selling The Dream) has been an all-purpose player for London. His checking and faceoff work helped London limit OHL scoring champion Vince Trocheck to three points during a five-game Western Conference final. (Buzzin’ The Net)
Where He Will End Up in June:
Based on his exceptional playoff performance so far, Bo Horvat seems poised to be selected in the 10-15 range, as evidenced in the following tweets:
As such, Horvat is likely to drop no further than the Winnipeg Jets at 13 or the Columbus Blue Jackets at 14.
Said Knight’s assistant coach Dylan Hunter about Horvat’s development:
Last year he had confidence, he knew he was a good player and what he was capable of doing. What makes him so good is that he’s an unselfish, two-way player — he has no problem being a defensive player. So last year he was focusing more on that, which is what we needed. This year he’s making more plays in the offensive zone, he’s carrying the puck up the whole ice, which we want, and it’s good to see. He’s really settling into the type of player that he’s going to be. (via HockeysFuture.com)
From Mckeen’s Hockey:
- Horvat possesses a “solid and consistent two-way game” who “excels at face-offs” and is “trusted by the coaching staff and used in all situations.” Horvat also “makes responsible plays, exploiting an above-average skill set”; he “not only possesses the good vision to disribute the puck – but is also an unselfish player by nature” and is developing “a growing slot presence as he shows improved timing and anticipation.” At the same time, despite his 6’0″ / 198 lb frame, Horvat “would benefit from adding more of a physical dimension to his game” as he “will finish his checks, but doesn’t really go out of his way to do so.” Overall, Horvat is best described as “a low-maintenance player and sound draft pick”, comparable with Boone Jenner, a second-round pick made by Columbus in the 2012 Entry Draft.
He is a player who can play in any situation, on any line, any position and will be productive in whatever role he is asked to play. Very smart and adaptable at whatever situation he’s playing in, he understands what is required and can carry out those requirements. Very good skater with good quickness, agility and balance. He competes and will do whatever is necessary to help his team win.
March 2013 – Not surprisingly, Bo Horvat showed well in the Best Faceoff (2nd) and Best Shot Blocking (1st) categories of the annual OHL Western Conference Poll.
February 2013 – This future captain of an NHL team owns a complete package of skills and the intangibles of no other player in this draft class. Understanding and reading the game is Horvat’s greatest asset and it is evident in his ability to play in all three zones of the ice … He lacks top end speed but his powerful skating stride makes him a difficult player to knock off the puck especially when he combines his underrated puck control skills and intense never-quit attitude in board battles.
- Interview with Bo Horvat of the London Knights (via YouTube)
- NHL Draft Tracker: Bo Horvat, London Knights (Buzzi’n The Net)
- Alternate captain of gold-medal winning Team Canada at 2012 Ivan Hlinka tournament
- Captain of bronze-medal winning Team Ontario at 2012 world under-17 hockey challenge.
- Member of Team Ontario under-16 team at 2011 Canada Winter Games.
ETA: 2-3 years
Risk-Reward Analysis: Risk = 1/5, Reward = 4/5
NHL Potential: 2nd or 3rd line Centre
- High defensive acumen
- Offensive upside
Flaws/Aspects He Needs To Work On:
- Continue to train to increase strength and add mass to frame to handle the rigors of the NHL.
- Continue to develop his defensive zone acumen, develop a presence around the net.
Fantasy Hockey Potential: Offensive = 6/10 Defensive = 7.5/10
NHL Player(s) Comparison: In order to ascertain this information, I took to twitter and asked OHL Master Jeff Marek.
@JeffMarek who would you say is an NHL comparable for Bo Horvat?
— Ian McLaren (@iancmclaren) March 19, 2013
@iancmclaren david backes
— Jeff Marek (@JeffMarek) March 19, 2013
Horvat also compares himself to Mike Richards of the Los Angeles Kings here.
Follow Ian on Twitter for more hockey commentary and updates.
THW’s The Next Ones prospect profile template design architect: Chris Ralph