Photo Credit: Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images
By Scott Rosenhek
After what seemed like a never-ending wait, Bo Horvat has been paid. His brand new deal comes in at $5.5 million per year and buys out the first two years of his unrestricted free agency.
Bo has long been marketed the future of this franchise since his rookie season. Let’s be honest, the organization had no succession plan for Henrik Sedin, so management went all in on Horvat. Bo is a great offensive driver, putting up 40 points in his sophomore season and scored 20 goals and 52 points in his most recent season. The former 9th overall pick from the 2013 draft is currently leading this team’s forward group. He just needs to round out his defensive game to be the effective two-way forward we want him to be.
With that being said, let’s weigh in on the contract. At $5.5 million, the Canucks paid a little too much. However, I came across this on Twitter this morning:
J.D. Burke is the former site manager for Canucks Army. I understand that the statistical model suggests that Horvat should have gotten $4.1 million, but that is ludicrous. There is no way that Horvat’s representatives would have settled for less money than Brandon Sutter. The albatross given to Sutter is a whole other discussion, but it is ridiculous to think you could give Horvat that deal.
Burke is correct in that Horvat had ZERO leverage. However, we have seen that this management group is terrible with negotiations. See the Loui Eriksson, Luca Sbisa, Derek Dorsett, and Brandon Sutter deals. We may also add Erik Gudbranson to that list depending on his performance this year.
Relatively speaking, this deal is not a bad deal per se. But, I agree with J.D. that the deal is not very good. Horvat had comparable players in Alexander Wennberg, Vincent Trochek and argueably Tyler Johnson, who got deals for $4.9 million, $4.75 million and $5 million per year, respectively.
Here is how the Canucks negotiated:
A smart team would not use Jonathan Drouin as a comparable. That’s something Horvat’s agent is supposed to do. If the management team opted to use players on more affordable contracts, Jim Benning could have easily gotten Horvat under $5 million per year. The Canucks paid for potential, which is fine if Horvat reaches it, but the early years of the contract will seem expensive. But if there is anyone who can reach that potential, it’s Bo Horvat. He has shattered expectations before, so it would not surprise me if he did it again.
In the grand scheme of things, the deal will not hurt the Canucks in the long run. This is a slight overpayment, but keep this in mind: if Elias Pettersson turns into the superstar that some people are saying he will be, how much money will he command? What if the Canucks draft another potential star player? How much will he want to be paid?