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Bo Horvat becomes a married man — Is he also the next Canucks' captain?

July 21, 2019, 2:07 PM ET [532 Comments]
Carol Schram
Vancouver Canucks Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
It was a picture-perfect wedding day for Bo Horvat and his new wife, Holly, at Roseville Estate in Cambridge, Ontario, on Friday.

From what I could see on Instagram, the guest list was a bit light on current Canucks. Sven Baertschi was there—those two apparently remain thick as thieves—and there's a photo with former Canucks Brendan Gaunce and Jayson Megna. But the pic of Bo's 'crew' skews heavily toward his old London Knights teammates, including Max Domi, Chris Tierney and Josh Anderson.

To be honest, I was a little surprised that we didn't see more representation from the current team. And in a roundabout way, that got me thinking about the Canucks' captaincy, and whether or not Bo's really the right man for the job.

Not in doubt—Horvat's work ethic and commitment to the game. He works his butt off, and his hard work has delivered results. Check out these numbers from his five NHL seasons for a snapshot of how he has progressed.

2014-15: 68 GP, 13-12-25, 0.37 points per game, 12:16 average ice time, 51.6% on faceoffs, 53.4% defensive zone starts

2015-16: 82 GP, 16-24-40, 0.49 points per game, 17:08 average ice time, 50.9% on faceoffs, 57.0% defensive zone starts

2016-17: 81 GP, 21-32-52, 0.64 points per game, 18:02 average ice time, 50.5% on faceoffs, 52.6% defensive zone starts

2017-18: 64 GP, 22-22-44, 0.69 points per game, 19:21 average ice time, 53.8% on faceoffs, 51.3% defensive zone starts

2018-19: 82 GP, 24-37-61, 0.74 points per game, 20:50 average ice time, 53.7% on faceoffs, 59.1% defensive zone starts

His ice time has gone up every year, and so has his points-per-game. That's especially impressive when his defensive responsibilities also spiked enormously last season, especially while Brandon Sutter and Jay Beagle were out with their injuries. He ranks 11th overall in faceoffs won over the five years since he entered the league and jumps to sixth if you only count the last two seasons, since Travis Green took over and Manny Malhotra moved from development coach to assistant coach.

Early on, there was talk that Bo had that Ryan Kesler-like tendency to go rogue on his offensive chances, trying to do it all himself rather than using his wingers. That seems to have eased over the years. After his rookie season, his assist total has always matched or comfortably exceeded the number of goals that he has scored.

League-wide, Horvat continues to fly under the radar. But he's now sixth in points from his 2013 draft class—and the five players above him all came into the league at 18 and have an extra year of service under their belts.

Here's a fun breakdown—check out CapFriendly's cost-per-point tool.

To get a better idea of how Bo compares in terms of the value of his contract with the $5.5 million cap hit, I took out all players on entry-level contracts, then sorted by total points. You have to scroll down a bit to get to Horvat at 61 points but right at the top of the chart, it's jaw-dropping to see that Nikita Kucherov's league-leading 128 points only cost about $30,000 each, while Connor McDavid is in six figures at $107,000 in second place. Of course, Kucherov is set to nearly double his salary when his new $9.5 million-a-year deal kicks in next season. I'm still sad that that the Lightning couldn't do more in the playoffs after their incredible regular season.

At just over $90,000 a point, Horvat is certainly closer to McDavid than to Kucherov. Sorting by cost per point, he lands at No. 304 out of 785 players—on the good side of the midline, and right in the same range as Nicklas Backstrom and Jeff Skinner. Not bad!

I'm disappointed that there's no way to filter the chart by team. At a glance, a few ex-Canucks came up early on the good-value meter: Brendan Leipsic (23 points in 62 games with L.A. at $650,000), Nic Dowd (22 points in 64 games with Washington at $650,000) and Jared McCann (35 points in 78 games at $1.25 million).

Obviously, at $14,000 per point on his entry-level contract, Elias Pettersson was the hands-down winner in delivering value for the Canucks. Josh Leivo topped the list of players on standard contracts with 24 points in 76 games on a deal worth $925,000, for $38,000 a point. That includes his time in Toronto; when you look solely at Leivo's 18 points in 49 games in Vancouver, his cost to the Canucks was just $23,000 a point.

So, are you ready to give Bo the "C"? Or do you think there's a case for waiting to see if Pettersson is actually Vancouver's captain-in-waiting?

I think there's a debate to be had here. In addition to taking the reins of the team offensively, we've seen Pettersson show maturity way beyond his age as he navigated the bright spotlight of the NHL during his rookie season. He shattered the stereotype that players who toil in the Pacific Time Zone don't get attention from media based in the east, earning cover stories everywhere and quickly silencing the conversation that he wasn't beefy enough to survive in the NHL—although I can't help thinking a rugged new teammate like Micheal Ferland should help on that front.

J.T. Miller will drop 'em on occasion, too. Did you know that his first fight in the NHL was actually against Ferland?

Anyway—back to Pettersson. In addition to his on-ice prowess, the rookie of the year has also shown a cerebral side in his interviews, with the way he thoughtfully processes questions and isn't afraid to go off-script and show his emotions—whether he's shooting his infamous death stare or chiding himself for stumbling on his English, or tearing up at the NHL Awards when remembering the late Jason Botchford. We also heard about how he made a point of getting to know all the players in the locker room when he joined the team last season, which shows some interpersonal savvy as well.

What do you think? Will the "C" go to Bo to help kick off the 50th anniversary celebrations this fall. Or is Petey the man for the job, even if he has to wait another year?
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