In this edition of the Vancouver Canucks News & Rumors, the contract comparable for Bo Horvat’s next deal is revealed from both sides. Meanwhile, Brock Boeser returns to practice after hand surgery, and the Canucks are looking to move Micheal Ferland’s contract.
Horvat Contract Comparable
Rick Dhaliwal discussed Horvat’s contract comparable on Donnie and Dhali on Monday. The Captain’s agent believes his next contract should be similar to Philadelphia Flyers forward Sean Couturier. Couturier is in the first year of an eight-year deal with an annual average value (AAV) of $7.750 million.
Dhaliwal added Horvat is among the top centres in the 2023 free agency pool, along with Ryan O’Reilly and Dylan Larkin. If the two others sign an extension before free agency, Horvat will likely receive more on the market than the Canucks are willing to offer.
As for the contract comparison, the Canucks don’t believe Horvat is worth that cap hit, and rightfully so. Couturier is one of the league’s best two-way forwards, winning the Frank J. Selke Trophy in the 2019-20 season. Additionally, he has posted a career-high 76-point total in back-to-back seasons in 2017-18 and 2018-19. Meanwhile, Horvat’s career high is 61 points in 82 games. However, he could prove his worth this season as he is coming off a career-high 31-goal season, totalling 52 points in 70 games. In an 82-game season, Horvat would have 36 goals and 61 points. If the 2013 first-round pick can improve on his 2021-22 season, he could get close to the AAV of Couturier.
Meanwhile, Frank Seravalli noted the contract comparison the Canucks used early on in negotiations with Horvat was Edmonton Oilers’ forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Nugent-Hopkins is signed to an eight-year contract with an AAV of $5.125 million. The Canucks would be expecting Horvat to take a pay cut from his current AAV of $5.5 million. Seravalli also added that there is a chance Horvat’s contract will be in the high sixes and potentially start with a seven in free agency.
Boeser Returns to Practice
The Canucks announced Boeser is set to miss three to four weeks due to a hand injury last week. However, the forward returned to practice on Tuesday, and head coach Bruce Boudreau noted Boeser wants to get back fast.
“He has been skating hard and still not shooting pucks. They’re putting him through a lot of skating (with injured players) to keep his conditioning up. He wants to get back as soon as possible. I’m crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.”
Seeing Boeser back on the ice is good for the forward, as his injury shouldn’t keep him from being in shape for whenever he returns. If he can return before the expected timeline, that would be good news for the forward and the Canucks. Boeser seemed determined to have a great season as he said the 2022-23 season will be the year he scores 30 goals. He has come close to the mark multiple times in his career and has been on pace to surpass the total in a full season in three of his four NHL campaigns.
Canucks Looking to Move Ferland’s Contract
Seravalli also reported the Canucks are looking to move Ferland’s contract. He is in the final year of his four-year contract with a cap hit of $3.5 million. Although Ferland won’t be returning to the NHL, the Canucks don’t want to be operating in Long Term Injured Reserve (LTIR) and don’t want to pay the $2.75 million of real cash he is owed.
The organization is hoping to find a trade partner willing to add the contract and operate in LTIR. Teams operating in LTIR are allowed to exceed the salary cap, which creates space for clubs to add to their roster. If the Canucks were to unload Ferland’s contract, they may have to add a draft pick in the trade.
Canucks Continue to Cut Roster Down
General manager Patrik Allvin announced more cuts to the Canucks roster on Tuesday. Danny DeKeyser highlighted the group as the club released him from his professional tryout contract (PTO). Six players were placed on waivers and cleared, including John Stevens, Noah Juulsen, Brady Keeper, Guillaume Brisebois and Collin Delia. Meanwhile, Tristen Nielsen was released from his professional tryout contract (PTO) and will join the Abbotsford Canucks. Lastly, Arthur Silovs, Arshdeep Bains, Wyatt Kalynuk, Danila Klimovich, William Lockwood and Michael DiPietro were assigned to Abbotsford.
The Canucks now have 29 players on their current roster. Notable names such as Nils Aman, Phillip Di Giuseppe, Justin Dowling, Sheldon Dries, Linus Karlsson and Christian Wolanin will continue to get looks as opening night nears.
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Sartaaj has been watching hockey for over 15 years and covers the Vancouver Canucks for The Hockey Writers.