Vancouver Canucks prospect Bo Horvat joins team for Rookie Showcase


Jun 30, 2013; Newark, NJ, USA; Bo Horvat puts on a jersey as he is introduced as the number nine overall pick to the Vancouver Canucks during the 2013 NHL Draft at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Bo Horvat is one of the Vancouver Canucks brightest prospects, a talented forward from the OHL’s London Knights, Horvat has played on Team Canada at the World Juniors and at 19 has one more year of eligibility to play with the Ontario club before making the jump to what many hope is directly to the NHL. Yet Horvat needed a blessing from Mark and Dale Hunter from the Knights to leave the OHL preseason to take part in the Canucks early preseason activities and the 2014 NHL Rookie Showcase with his sights on making the jump instead of having to play a fourth season of Junior hockey.

Speaking to the Vancouver Sun, Horvat mentioned that the Knights have given their superstar player the blessing to go out and try to make the Canucks roster this season, even if that means losing what would be their best player should Horvat impress the team enough to keep around what is a very promising prospect.

From the Vancouver Sun

"Then the Knights, who are led by former NHLers Mark and Dale Hunter, did something special for Horvat. They excused him from the OHL exhibition season so he could chase his NHL dream. Horvat has been in Vancouver since Labour Day, skating with Canuck veterans and other top prospects — Hunter Shinkaruk, Nicklas Jensen, Brendan Gaunce and Dane Fox among them — in informal workouts at Britannia Arena.Horvat’s next official function is the Young Stars tournament in Penticton. It begins Thursday with a practice and Friday with a game against the Edmonton Oiler prospects. Bo knows the Hunters were within their rights to keep him in London until the last possible moment, but they chose to let him go early.“Oh, for sure, they could have said they wanted me to stay, but the Hunters know what it takes to get to the next level,” Horvat explained. “They’ve played in the NHL and they understand the situation 100 per cent. So for them to let me come out here early, it shows a lot of respect for me. That’s why London is a great organization.”The Canucks, he noted, were the ones pushing for Horvat to join the group skating at Britannia. Their reasoning was obvious: doing drills and scrimmaging daily with the Sedin twins, Alex Burrows, Chris Higgins and other members of the big club would likely benefit Horvat more than any junior exhibition game.“They just thought it would be best if I came out here a little bit earlier and skated with these guys and just kind of got my legs under me before I go off to Penticton,” he said. “The Knights were totally fine with it. They just wanted me to participate in their training camp to kind of be a leader there and show the younger guys, but as soon as the intra-squad games and stuff were over they said it was fine to go out to Vancouver.”"

Like most Junior eligible players it is still very likely that Horvat could be back with the London Knights this season to get an extra year of development along with experience at the World Juniors under his belt, but the 19 year old has tons of potential that could make him a candidate to make the team along with a steady list of other young forwards as the Canucks have arguably their best crop of prospects to choose from in years. The player who the Canucks earned in the Cory Schneider deal may be on the outside looking in because of that ability to play in Junior this season on a franchise like the Knights that will help his development, but don’t tell that to Horvat who is looking forward to attempting to make the jump early starting with this week’s Rookie Showcase.