The asking price on the NHL trade market for Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat is high but what will it cost to lock Horvat up to a contract extension if you're the acquiring team?
That and some insight on the Minnesota Wild's trade deadline approach in the latest Off The Record:
1. What Would A Horvat Extension Look Like?
Per an NHL executive source to OTR on Saturday morning, the latest he heard on the asking price for Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat was the following:
"Two components. Top-level prospect and player or high pick."
Stefen Rosner of NYI Hockey Now reported back on Dec. 14 that the New York Islanders reached out to the Canucks and this past week another NHL source confirmed to Boston Hockey Now that the Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings, Carolina Hurricanes, Seattle Kraken, along with the Islanders, were teams interested in acquiring Horvat.
This past week another NHL source confirmed Rosner's original report. With that asking price though, the understanding was that while NHL trade talks over Horvat were picking up, none of those teams had jumped ahead of the other. Another reason NHL trade talks regarding Horvat hadn't gone to the next level yet is what it will cost the acquiring team to sign him to a contract extension.
Likely any acquiring general manager will want to know that he's not surrendering the aforementioned ransom just for a rental, and will want to lock the potential UFA up past this season. Horvat is in the final season of a six-year contract he signed as a restricted free agent in 2017 that carries a $5.5 million AAV. He will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. After a career-high 31 goals last season, the 6-foot, 215-pound pivot has 30 goals and 48 points in 43 games this season.
Last Monday, Canucks President Jim Rutherford all but assured that Horvat will be dealt before the March 3 NHL Trade Deadline this past Monday.
“We, I believe, have taken our best shot,” he said. “The contract we have on the table for Bo I think is a fair contract for what he’s done up until this year. But it’s certainly under market value for what he’s done this year.”
So what is the market value for Horvat?
Off the record: "I think you need to look at the Josh Norris contract as a comparable," the aforementioned NHL source pointed out to OTR on Saturday morning.The Ottawa Senators signed the 23-year-old Norris to an eight-year, $63.6 million ($7.9M AAV), last July. Obviously, there's a major age difference there between Norris and Horvat, who will be 28 by the time his next contract starts. If that plays a factor is yet to be seen but there are clearly many moving parts to any Horvat deal on the NHL trade market.
2. Will NHL Trade Market Get Wild?
It's no secret that Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba can be had for the right price on the NHL trade market. Dumba was a healthy scratch for a second straight game on Saturday night and many believe his days are numbered in Minnesota.
What is a secret still though is what Wild general manager Bill Guerin has up his sleeve ahead of the March 3 NHL Trade Deadline. The Wild are in win-now mode so if they're going to move a key cog on their blue line like Dumba, they're likely going to replace him. Like most GMs, Guerin is being forced to trade a player he likely doesn't want to due to salary cap issues and in order to add, he will need to pull off some cap gymnastics, but the feeling is he will try hard to make an impact move.
*It should be noted that our colleague Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now reported this past week that the Pittsburgh Penguins and Minnesota Wild have had some exploratory NHL trade discussions. As Kingerski pointed out, Dumba would likely not be a trade target for the Pens given their depth on the right side of their blue line.
Off the record: "I think Billy is one of the most interesting GMs to watch as we get closer to the trade deadline," an NHL source told OTR. "There's no doubt he's in win-now mode and in the West it's anyone's conference to take right now. He's going for it if he can do it."