Canucks News & Rumors: Hughes, Horvat, Miller & More

In this edition of the Vancouver Canucks News & Rumors, the club suffered a tough shootout loss on Tuesday, which has hurt their playoff chances. Meanwhile, Quinn Hughes is on path to a record-setting season, while Bo Horvat’s season is likely over. Additionally, J.T. Miller set a career-high in goals and points.

Canucks Playoffs Hopes Close to Dead

Tuesday night was rough for the Canucks. Not only did the club suffer a shootout loss against the Ottawa Senators, which ended their six-game win streak, but the Los Angeles Kings also picked up a win in regulation. The Kings hold the third seed in the Pacific division and are five points ahead of the Canucks. However, the Canucks have a game in hand, but their playoff chances stand at 5.3%, according to MoneyPuck.

Bruce Boudreau Vancouver Canucks head coach
Bruce Boudreau, Vancouver Canucks head coach (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Canucks will likely miss the playoffs for the second season in a row. Their tough start to the season is at fault, as the club struggled to pick up wins under the organization’s last regime. The arrival of head coach Bruce Boudreau gave the club and its fan base hope as they have posted the 10th most points (69) in the NHL since his hiring.

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If the Canucks don’t make the postseason, they have a few key things to focus on in the offseason. Boudreau signed a one-year deal with an option for next season. The new regime may want their own coach and could move on from Boudreau. Rick Dhaliwal reported Rikard Gronborg could be a potential replacement. 

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Additionally, the club has a decision to make on Brock Boeser, Conor Garland and Miller, as all three forwards were involved in trade rumors throughout the season. Boeser is also a restricted free agent this offseason and has a qualifying offer of $7.5 million, which the club believes he isn’t worth. Miller is an unrestricted free agent after next season and could be looking for a big pay raise close to eight years with an average annual value (AAV) of $8.5 million. If the Canucks are not willing to extend him at that price point, they’ll likely trade the forward in the offseason and should receive a good return for the team’s point leader.

Hughes Closing in on Record-Breaking Season

Hughes tied Dennis Kearns for the most assists in a single season by a Canucks defenceman on Tuesday. He registered two assists against the Senators, giving him a season total of 55 assists in 71 games. Hughes is also two points away from tying Doug Lidster’s record for the most point by a defenceman at 63 points. 

Related: Canucks’ Hughes on Pace for Record Season

Hughes has had a bounce-back season after his somewhat disappointing sophomore slump. His 61 points are the third-most on the team behind Miller (93) and Elias Pettersson (63). Hughes is in the first year of his six-year contract with an AAV of $7.850 million and is proving to be worth the deal. 

Horvat Out Two Weeks

The Canucks announced last week that captain Horvat will be re-evaluated in two weeks, which most likely ends his season. The forward is out as he suffered a lower-body injury. The injury to the captain couldn’t come at a worse time as the Canucks are playing important games, and Horvat has been the team’s best player as of late. He led the team with 17 goals in his last 24 games and was the first player to reach the 30-goal mark this season. 

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

Horvat is due for a contract extension and his agent, Pat Morris, noted the two sides will talk when needed. Morris added Horvat loves the organization, and the organization loves him. It wouldn’t be surprising if the captain took a pay cut on his next contract to ice a competitive squad.

Miller Adds to Impressive Season

Miller has 93 points in 75 games this season, which makes him the first Canuck to surpass the 90-point mark since Henrik (94) and Daniel (104) Sedin had done so in the 2010-11 season. Miller’s 93-point season is the ninth most in franchise history. 

Miller joined Horvat as the only two members of the club with 30 goals this season after he scored in Tuesday night’s game, the first time he has done so in his career. His time with the Canucks has been impressive as he has posted 72 goals and 211 points in 197 games. Miller has developed into a top-end player during his time with the Canucks, and what the team decides to do with the forward this offseason will be interesting. They could sign him to a long term contract which will end in his late 30s, or they could trade him for valuable assets.