In this edition of the Vancouver Canucks News & Rumors, an update on talks between the organization and Bo Horvat. Also, the Canucks plan on keeping Nils Hoglander and Vasily Podkolzin in Abbotsford for the time being. Additionally, the club reveals Thatcher Demko and Tanner Pearson’s return timeline.
Horvat Contract Talks
The last update in the talks between Horvat and the Canucks was the forward had rejected the previous offer from the club. Horvat’s agent Pat Morris provided The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun with an update on talks between the two sides (from ‘LeBrun: The latest rumblings on NHL’s pending UFA class, from Pastrnak to Kane/Toews to O’Reilly and more,’ The Athletic, December 29, 2022).
“There’s been no new negotiating conversations in terms of Bo Horvat,” Morris said Thursday.
As each day passes, it seems more likely Horvat’s days as a Canuck are numbered. However, the same was said about J.T. Miller before the forward signed his deal prior to the start of the season, but the Canucks no longer have enough cap space to re-sign Horvat due to the Miller deal. Complicating the situation is the fact that the Canucks will not be able to offer Horvat what he will receive in the open market, as his play since the start of the season has increased his already high value. Therefore, it is likely the organization will move him before the trade deadline.
Hoglander and Podkolzin to Stay in Abbotsford
The Canucks sent Hoglander to the American Hockey League (AHL) before the roster freeze, and he joined fellow 2019 Draft pick Podkolzin. The Athletic’s Thomas Drance and Rick Dhaliwal reported the two aren’t expected to join the main roster any time soon (from ‘The Canucks’ plans and what we’re hearing about them after the holiday roster freeze,’ The Athletic, December 28, 2022).
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“The Canucks are intent on leaving Podkolzin and Höglander in Abbotsford until their two prized young forwards have rebuilt their confidence, and in Höglander’s case, have ironed out some of the puck management glitches in his game.”
The stint in Abbotsford allows Hoglander and Podkolzin to work with Henrik and Daniel Sedin. Drance and Dhaliwal add the two will be up in Vancouver before the season ends, but there is no rush, as the priority is to develop both young forwards.
Demko and Pearson’s Return
Head coach Bruce Boudreau provided a return update on goalie Demko and forward Pearson on Tuesday. The netminder hasn’t played since Dec. 1st due to either a groin or hip injury but should be back in late January or early February around the All-Star break (from ‘Canucks: Thatcher Demko unlikely to return before February,’ The Province, December 27, 2022).
“I’m hoping that’s within the next month,” the coach said. “That may sound silly, but I’m hoping it’s in January. But you never know. We have that big break coming (in late January). It might be right after that, but I was asking a bit this morning, but I wasn’t getting the answers that I really wanted so I don’t know.”
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As for Pearson, he has been out since early November due to a hand injury. The head coach noted the forward would like to make it back for the Florida road trip mid-way through next month. The Canucks take on the Winnipeg Jets, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes starting on Jan. 8.
Canucks Activate Dermott
General manager Patrik Allvin announced the club has activated defenceman Travis Dermott from long-term injured reserve on Thursday. Dermott hasn’t played a game for the Canucks this season. He suffered a concussion during practice on Sept. 27. However, he played a game in the AHL on a conditioning loan before the holiday break. He will provide the club with depth on the blue line as he can play on both sides of the ice.
Pettersson Named Third Star of the Week
The NHL named Elias Pettersson the league’s third star of the week on Saturday. He tied the league lead in assists with five and points with seven in two games during the week.
Pettersson missed the first game of the week against the St. Louis Blues as the club lost 5-1. He returned to the lineup with a two-goal and five-point night against the Seattle Kraken. Pettersson’s five-point game was the fourth of his career, setting a franchise record. His second goal tied the game up in the dying minutes to send it to overtime. He later scored another goal in the shootout to help the Canucks pick up the win.
He added two assists in the Canucks 5-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Friday. Pettersson leads the team in points with 42 through 32 games this season.
Sartaaj has been watching hockey for over 15 years and covers the Vancouver Canucks for The Hockey Writers.