Welcome to the post-All-Star Weekend edition of the Vancouver Canucks News & Rumors. In this edition, Thatcher Demko is drawing trade interest from multiple organizations. Additionally, the Minnesota Wild and New Jersey Devils are among the teams interested in Brock Boeser. Also, the New York Islanders extended former captain Bo Horvat to an eight-year deal.
4 Teams Have Called on Demko
Over the past few weeks, there has been an increasing trade interest in Demko. ESPN’s Emily Kaplan reports at least four teams have called Vancouver asking about his availability, and the organization hasn’t said no to any team. Demko is on a team-friendly contract with an average annual value of $5 million for three more years.
Kaplan adds if Demko returns and is the dominant goaltender he’s shown to be, the interest would increase. Demko returned to practice on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden in New York City. He suffered a lower-body injury early in December and hasn’t played a game since. As The Province’s Patrick Johnston notes, Demko could be back in action as soon as next week (from ‘Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko returns to practice,’ The Province, February 7, 2023).
Devils & Wild in on Boeser
The Canucks granted Boeser’s agent, Ben Hankinson, permission to discuss a potential trade involving his client with other NHL teams a few months ago. Ben Kuzma of The Province reported the Devils and the Wild are two teams that could land the forward (from ‘New Canuck Anthony Beauvillier gets prime lineup spot to boost scoring shot’ The Province, February 6, 2023).
“Boeser’s name has been linked to many trade destinations, but the Devils and Wild make the most sense,” Kuzma said. “His agent, Ben Hankinson, told Postmedia on Monday he continues to help the Canucks hockey operations department find a destination and that he has talked to New Jersey and Minnesota.”
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Hankinson adds other clubs have shown interest in Boeser, but there are a lot of moving parts in getting a deal done. Boeser’s three-year, $19.950 million contract is an issue for multiple teams. However, the Canucks are open to taking money back in a deal involving the forward.
Horvat Signs Extension with Islanders
The Canucks traded Horvat to the Islanders last week, and the former captain signed an eight-year, $68 million extension. The Canucks traded the forward for Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu Raty, and a conditional first-round pick. The organization decided to ship its captain after failing to negotiate an extension with him.
Horvat’s new deal is more than what the Canucks could offer him, as the contract would put the club in a tough spot to operate after they extended Andrei Kuzmenko and J.T. Miller this season. Islanders’ general manager Lou Lamoriello jokingly said the contract was too long and had too much money, adding NHL contracts are too long these days. The Islanders will move forward with Horvat as a part of their core alongside Mathew Barzal.
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As for the Canucks, the organization likely could’ve signed Horvat before the season. The forward outplayed any contract the Canucks could offer once the season started, thanks to his play in 2022-23. He has 31 goals and 54 points in 50 games this year.
Rathbone Trade Buzz
Rick Dhaliwal reported the Canucks would be open to trading Jack Rathbone if the organization doesn’t play him at the NHL level. He adds the club could trade the defenceman to a team that gives him a better chance at playing in the league.
The 23-year-old was drafted in the fourth round of the 2017 NHL Draft and has played in 23 games over three seasons. He has struggled to crack the main roster consistently, playing a majority of his games in the American Hockey League (AHL). He has played 62 games in total in the AHL, scoring 13 goals and posting 56 points. The Canucks could get a second or third-round pick for the mobile defenceman. He has the potential to become a top-four puck-moving blueliner for an NHL team if given the opportunity.
The Canucks announced their new leadership group after trading away their captain. Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes will serve as alternate captains, along with Oliver Ekman-Larsson and J.T. Miller.
Former captain Horvat endorsed Pettersson as the team’s next captain during All-Star Weekend. Pettersson and Hughes are the organization’s future, as both are in the running to become the club’s 15th captain in franchise history.