In this edition of the Vancouver Canucks News & Rumors, Bo Horvat tops Frank Seravalli’s trade target list. Meanwhile, Andrei Kuzmenko’s agent comments on the pending unrestricted free agent’s next contract. Additionally, the Canucks announced they sent Vasily Podkolzin and Jack Rathbone to Abbotsford.
Horvat Tops Trade Targets List
Seravalli released his trade target list last week. Canucks captain Horvat was at the top of that list, as Seravalli noted the two sides have not talked since before training camp.
“Communication has been scarce between the Canucks and Horvat’s camp, with the belief that contract talks broke off before training camp and have not resumed,” Seravalli said. “Canucks president Jim Rutherford alluded to the idea that Horvat’s sizzling start means the captain could be the catalyst for core reconstruction: “The better he plays, the better return we can get for him,” Rutherford told Sportsnet 650 earlier this month.”
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Seravalli adds multiple teams are interested in the forward. The Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins and Edmonton Oilers are a few of the teams the insider says are in on the forward as either a rental or long-term addition.
Horvat isn’t the only Canuck on the list, as teammate Brock Boeser lands at the 16th spot. Boeser signed a three-year contract with an annual average value of $6.65 million. Seravalli notes Boeser may be one of the easier players to trade if the Canucks continue to struggle this season.
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“Canucks president Jim Rutherford said if this season continues to swirl down the drain, they will be forced to unload larger contracts. Outside of pending UFA Horvat (No. 1), Boeser is perhaps most moveable of those deals. He certainly hasn’t scored at his typical rate this season, but his contract isn’t hugely detrimental to his value. Boeser started slow and finished stronger last season with 29 points in 43 games.”
Kuzmenko’s Agent Comments on Next Contract
Rick Dhaliwal tweeted Kuzmenko’s agent isn’t sure what the Russian forward can get in his next contract.
“No clue to be honest when it comes to a number. Just proud of him,” agent Dan Milstein said. It’s been a long road to get him to NHL. Andrei deserves every bit of it through hard work and dedication.”
Kuzmenko is off to a hot start to his NHL career. The 26-year-old has scored 11 goals and 21 points in 21 games this season. Currently, on a one-year deal with a cap hit of $950,000, Kuzmenko will likely receive a contract closer to $6 million or more if he continues to produce at this rate.
Podkolzin & Rathbone Sent to Minors
Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin announced forward Podkolzin and defenceman Rathbone had been assigned to the Abbotsford Canucks in the American Hockey League on Monday. Neither player requires waivers in order to be sent down.
Podkolzin had a great rookie season but struggled to produce in his sophomore season. After scoring 14 goals and posting 26 points in 79 games last season, the Russian forward has registered three assists in 16 games. Meanwhile, Rathbone has only played six games this season for the Canucks.
Sending both players down allows them to get more playing time. Additionally, for Podkolzin, he has an opportunity to regain his confidence. He played in two playoff games with Abbotsford last season. As for Rathbone, he played in 39 games with the team last year, scoring 10 goals and posting 40 points in 39 games.
West Coast Express Podcast
Scott Rintoul announced a long-form episodic podcast on the West Coast Express line, which will come out in 2023. The podcast will include all three members of the line, former captain Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi and Brendan Morrison, as well as, those around them at the time.
The line played together from 2002 until 2006, bringing excitement to the city of Vancouver. During their most dominant period, they combined for 718 points between the 2001-02 season and 2003-04. The podcast will likely include stories of their time before they came together, the period of time they dominated and the end of their run as a line.
Aside from their popularity and dominance, what makes their story interesting is the trio found the most success during their careers in Vancouver. Naslund struggled in his three years with the Pittsburgh Penguins before joining Vancouver and posting 346 points and 756 points in 884 games. The Swede was the third player in Canucks history to have his number retired by the organization. As for Bertuzzi, he spent three years with the New York Islanders before posting 188 goals and 449 points in 518 games with the Canucks. Lastly, Morrison posted 136 goals and 393 points in 543 games after three seasons with the New Jersey Devils.
Sartaaj has been watching hockey for over 15 years and covers the Vancouver Canucks for The Hockey Writers.