If you’ve spent even a moment following the Vancouver Canucks this season, you will certainly know that the drama and rumors following this team reads much like a soap opera. Early in the 2022-23 season, the Canucks looked like they exiled themselves to the deepest, darkest cellar in the hockey world as they couldn’t bribe their way to a win. Drama between the front office and the coaching staff led to more rumors that there might be a coaching change early on haven’t materialized as of yet but the season is still relatively young.
December 5, 2021 is a date that should be very familiar to Canucks fans. That’s the day that head coach Travis Green was escorted out of the building with an 8-15-2 record. With that in mind, new head coach Bruce Boudreau was hired with one goal in mind: clean up the Canucks’ mess on the ice. Well, Boudreau did his part and although the Canucks missed the Stanley Cup playoffs last season, his efforts to turn around this organization bore enough fruit to have him come back for another try this year. However, early rumblings from president Jim Rutherford put him at odds early on this season with Boudreau and the two exchanged barbs and cryptic statements back and forth as the Canucks flailed around the NHL during October and November.
Well, it’s now December and guess what? The Vancouver Canucks have found a way to right their ship as they sit on an even 12-12-3 record and are now in position for a possible playoff push before the Christmastime benchmark arrives. The rumblings between the Canucks’ front office and the coaching staff have seemed to quiet down due to the fact that the Canucks are now winning with a recent three game winning streak and a 7-3-0 record in the last ten games. In fact, the Canucks have positioned themselves to be a sleeper team this season and are quietly moving up the Pacific Division standings.
Horvat and Boeser trade talks remain a distraction.
When a team is improving, the last thing that anyone wants is a distraction. Nevertheless, the incessant trade talks swirling around both team captain Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser remain a big distraction for the Canucks organization. For his part, Bo Horvat has tried to be a solid team captain in Vancouver and this season’s statistics show that Horvat is worth every penny he earns. With 20 goals and nine assists, Horvat is the second leading scorer for the Canucks behind Elias Pettersson. Horvat is well known throughout the NHL to be a faceoff king and combined with his team leadership and scoring ability, he looks to be the real deal.
Horvat becomes an unrestricted free agent (UFA) at the end of this season and with an annual contract value of $5.5 million dollars, the Canucks have to look at their salary cap to determine whether or not the 28 year old center will stay in Vancouver past next summer. With the season Horvat’s having, his stock is rising within the NHL and his time wearing the “C” for the Canucks may end in a matter of months. Little has been done to extend Horvat’s contract so far this season, as both sides may be holding out to a “wait and see” scenario. As long as Bo Horvat keeps having a great season and continues to be a solid leader on the ice, his price tag wil continue to grow.
The one area that the Canucks may be ready to move on from is the rumors surrounding potential Brock Boeser trades. With a large, $6.65 million dollar price tag, Boeser remains a financial albatross on the Canucks organization. In 21 games, Boeser has only produced four goals and 12 assists – expensive points compared to his annual salary. To put things into a better perspective, Canucks’ defenseman Quinn Hughes has appeared in only two more games than Boeser but produced 25 points – nine more than Boeser. With recent drama unfolding between the Boeser camp and the Canucks’ front office, the organization gave permission to Boeser’s agent Ben Hankinson to start shopping for possible trade deals. With a large $6.65 million dollar salary cap through the 2023-25 season, most teams simply cannot afford Boeser’s price tag. More than likely, Boeser will be gone from Vancouver by the trade deadline and he’ll find himself with a new team -a team that can afford his high salary cap.