NHL Rumor Mill – December 13, 2022
CANUCKS COULD MOVE HORVAT BY THE TRADE DEADLINE
TSN: Citing a report by CHEK TV’s Rick Dhaliwal, Pierre LeBrun reports Bo Horvat rejected a contract offer from the Vancouver Canucks. The offer was made to the 27-year-old Canucks captain two weeks ago.
LeBrun indicated the Canucks are “focused on the trade market between now and March 3”. Horvat is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. He’s completing a six-year contract with an average annual value of $5.5 million.
THE ATHLETIC: Dhaliwal and Thomas Drance report neither the Canucks nor the Horvat camp would comment regarding the specific numbers in the contract offer. However, it’s believed the club’s proposal was a maximum eight-year deal that was “well shy of $8 million”, which is the going baseline rate for top centers.
Things could change between now and March 3. J.T. Miller spent months on the trade block before the Canucks re-sign him to a long-term extension in September. Nevertheless, the club is said to be actively listening to trade offers for Horvat.
Dhaliwal and Drance report the Canucks could seek a package including multiple young players, including a centerman and a right-shot defenseman. Management is also believed to be reluctant to retain salary to facilitate a trade.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks could move Horvat before the trade deadline for the right offer. However, they could revisit negotiations with their captain if they don’t get any pitches to their liking or if he has a change of heart about rejecting their contract proposal.
A Horvat trade isn’t a foregone conclusion. However, the Canucks have less time to hammer out a new contract for him compared to when they were negotiating with Miller.
If Horvat won’t budge and the Canucks are unwilling to meet his price, then they’ll peddle him before deadline day rather than risk losing him to free agency for nothing in July. You can bet there will be considerable interest from playoff contenders in the market for a scoring center.
MORE CANUCKS SPECULATION
THE ATHLETIC: Dhaliwal and Drance report there’s nothing new to report on the Canucks efforts to trade Brock Boeser. The Canucks are receiving calls about the 26-year-old winger but his $6.6 million annual cap hit through 2024-25 is proving difficult to move. His flatlined production of late hasn’t helped.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boeser reportedly hasn’t asked to be traded. However, it’s believed there’s a mutual feeling that a deal might be best for all concerned. As previous reports suggest, it could take time to find a suitable trade partner. I’ve mentioned before that it wouldn’t be surprising if this carries over into the offseason when teams have more cap space to work with.
Haman Dayal recently noted the trade speculation surrounding Luke Schenn. The 33-year-old Canucks defenseman surfaced in the rumor mill after his agent tweeted that his client would be a “perfect deadline acquisition”, citing his solid defensive game and his two Stanley Cups with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Schenn, however, doesn’t sound like someone hoping to get traded. He told Dayal that his priority remains to try and stay long-term in Vancouver and help the Canucks build into a winner. He added that he and his family have put down roots in Vancouver. He’s also earned top-four minutes with the Canucks after being a sixth-seventh defenseman with the Lightning.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canucks management has to be pleased with Schenn’s performance. Nevertheless, he carries an affordable cap hit on an expiring contract that lacks no-trade protection. If the front office commits to a rebuild, Schenn could prove to be an attractive trade chip leading up to March 3.
VANCOUVER HOCKEY INSIDER: Rob Simpson recently wondered about the fate of Jack Rathbone. The 23-year-old defenseman saw limited action this season with the Canucks and is now playing for their AHL affiliate in Abbotsford.
Simpson observed Rathbone seemed quite unhappy during the Canucks road trip against the Golden Knights in Las Vegas. He didn’t play in that game on Nov. 26 and two days later was demoted to Abbotsford. Simpson wondered if he might request a trade should he become tired of playing the waiting game with the Canucks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dhaliwal and Drance report Rathbone has not asked for a trade. He remains focused on playing his way back into the Canucks lineup. Still, his situation could be worth monitoring in the coming weeks.