Canucks News & Rumors: Horvat, Schenn, Lekkerimaki & More

In this edition of the Vancouver Canucks News & Rumors, Bo Horvat rejects the Canucks latest contract offer. Additionally, the organization’s plans for Luke Schenn’s future are revealed. Also, top prospect Jonathan Lekkerimaki’s status at the 2023 World Junior Championships (WJC) is in question. 

Horvat Rejects Latest Offer

On Monday, Rick Dhaliwal said the Canucks made an offer to Horvat, which was rejected. The number was under $8 million, and the Canucks would have been over the cap space by the end of the season. The organization will now look for the best trade offer for their captain. 

Bo Horvat Vancouver Canucks
Bo Horvat, Vancouver Canucks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Dhaliwal believes a good return for the forward will include a young centreman, a young defenceman (preferably right-handed) and a draft pick. The Canucks are prioritizing getting the best return for their captain. However, they are open to a deal quickly if a rival club meets their needs. According to Elliotte Friedman, the Canucks are doing their due diligence and checking which teams are interested in the forward. 

Related: Canucks Chose Wrong Player to Extend Between Horvat & Miller

Horvat issued a statement about his future with the team on Tuesday. 

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“I am focused on this season and playing for the Vancouver Canucks, helping the team in any way I can. I will not have any further comments this year about my future.”

Canucks Future Plans With Schenn

Schenn has become a fan favourite in Vancouver over the past two seasons. However, the defenceman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and the organization will have to make a decision on his future. Whether the club trades him or keeps him is yet to be seen. 

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The Athletic’s Thomas Drance and Dhaliwal say the Canucks will likely get a lot of calls right before the NHL trade deadline and can expect a solid return for Schenn (from ‘Bo Horvat on the trade block: What we’re hearing about the Canucks’ latest offer,’ The Athletic, December 12, 2022). They add the organization would love to keep the blueliner, but if they do trade him, they plan on circling back and making him an offer on July 1. The Canucks also have to make sure a deal works for Schenn’s family as his wife is pregnant, and the due date is expected to be close to the March 3rd NHL trade deadline. 

Schenn has brought a lot to the Canucks these past two seasons. He has been a reliable top-4 defenceman with a physical and tough game. He kills penalties for the club and makes a few mistakes. Additionally, he brings great leadership to the locker room, and a winning mentality, which he has gained through his two Stanley Cup runs with the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

Canucks Could Buy Contracts Out

Drance and Dhaliwal also said the Canucks will look for other ways to create cap space if they’re unable to move bad contracts. They add the organization is willing to take less in return to clear salary in trades involving Tyler Myers, Tanner Pearson, Conor Garland or Brock Boeser. However, it isn’t as easy as it sounds to trade the four players, and the front office will be looking to create cap space through buyouts this offseason if they need to. 

Blake Price notes Boeser, Myers and J.T. Miller are likely not players the Canucks will buy out as either their contracts will be up soon, or they have trade value. He lists Pearson, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and potentially Garland as candidates. The Canucks have Andrei Kuzmenko to re-sign this offseason and Elias Pettersson in a few. Therefore, creating room to extend both is crucial for the organization. 

Lekkerimaki Not 100% for WJC

The 2023 WJC start on Dec 26. However, Canucks’ 2022 first-round draft pick Lekkerimaki may not be ready to go. The Swedish prospect is still recovering from a concussion he sustained in late November. Lekkerimaki was expected to be one of Sweden’s top offensive weapons at the tournament. Canucks fans are hoping he can recover and make an impact for his country.