Vancouver Canucks: The Promising career of Bo Horvat

VANCOUVER, BC - NOVEMBER 2: Bo Horvat #53 of the Vancouver Canucks skates up ice during their NHL game against the Colorado Avalanche at Rogers Arena November 2, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)"n
VANCOUVER, BC - NOVEMBER 2: Bo Horvat #53 of the Vancouver Canucks skates up ice during their NHL game against the Colorado Avalanche at Rogers Arena November 2, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)"n /

Bo Horvat is loved by all Vancouver Canucks fans.  He is a fearless leader and competitor that works hard every game. He has been penned as the successor for Henrik Sedin for the captaincy. Horvat only seems to be getting better every season and looks like he won’t slow down. This is the Career of Bo Horvat so far.

Before we look at the career of Vancouver Canucks centre Bo Horvat, let’s go back a little. The date was June 30th 2013. It was the NHL Entry Draft. The hometown New Jersey Devils were on the clock for the 9th overall pick, or were they? NHL commissioner Gary Bettman walked up to the podium. There is only one reason he walks up while the first round is happening: a trade.

“I think you’re gonna want to hear this!” he exclaimed

The Devils traded the 9th overall pick to the Vancouver Canucks for goaltender Cory Schneider. Fans couldn’t believe it.

Now who were the Canucks going to pick 9th overall? Valeri Nichuskin? Max Domi? Nikita Zadorov? They picked London Knights centre Bo Horvat from Rodney Ontario. Some Canucks fans were not happy they passed on Nichuskin. Others were still ticked off about trading Cory Schneider.  Flash forward five years later, Horvat is a fan-favourite and is looking like the next captain. First let us look at Bo Horvat since his draft year.


Horvat returned to the London Knights for his draft plus one year.  It was rumoured that he would become the next London Knights captain but that went to Chris Tierney. He played big minutes in London tallying 30 goals and 44 assists in 54 games which was the highest he has put in his three junior seasons.

He helped the Knights to the playoffs but the Knights were eliminated  in the second round by the Guelph Storm in five games. In the playoffs, Horvat had five goals and six assists. The Knights were in the Mastercard Memorial Cup as hosts but were bounced in the round robin tournament. Horvat even played at the World Juniors for Canada in Malmo, Sweden playing on a line with Connor McDavid. In seven games, Horvat recorded two assists and a goal. Canada finished fourth.


The next big step in the career of Bo Horvat was to make the Vancouver Canucks. In the preseason he injured his shoulder after a hit on Oilers forward Tyler Pitlick. He was assigned to the Utica Comets for a conditioning stint upon recovery.

More from The Canuck Way

He was held pointless in 5 games with the Comets. Horvat made his NHL debut on November 4th 2014 in Colorado against the Avalanche. On November 20th, he scored his first NHL goal at Rogers Arena against the Anaheim Ducks.

The following game against the Chicago Blackhawks, Horvat had three assists. On November 25th, it was announced that Horvat would be staying on the Canucks roster. Head coach Willie Desjardins, didn’t even expect Horvat to compete for a roster spot.

Horvat played on the fourth line with Ronalds Kenins and Jannik Hansen for the majority of the 2014-15 season.  He had 13 goals and 12 assists in 68 games in his rookie season.  The Canucks also made the playoffs that year! In six games against the Calgary Flames, Horvat had 4 points including one goal.


Horvat continued his strong play in his sophomore season. Injuries to veteran centres Brandon Sutter and Henrik Sedin increased his ice time and defensive responsibilities for the young centre. Even when he was not scoring (he went on two long scoring droughts that season).

Horvat still was great on most nights as he helped defensively and tried to create offence. He was forcing turnovers and trying to stop opposing players from getting to the net. In his sophomore season, Horvat had 16 goals and 24 assists in 82 games despite having one of the worst plus/minus ratings in the league.


The 2016-17 season saw Horvat continuing to impress. He was named an All Star and participated in the fastest skater competition. He scored 2 goals in the All Star Tourney. Carrying on from the previous season, he continued to show his chemistry with Sven Baertschi.

Horvat grew both offensively and defensively, as he reached the 20 goal mark for the first time in his career and added 32 assists in 81 games. He looked more like a leader on the ice and was calm and poised at each end of the rink. After Alex Burrows was traded, Horvat received the A on his jersey.


Horvat’s 2017-18 season was shortened to 68 games due to a broken foot that was sustained in a game against the Carolina Hurricanes. He missed six weeks and his absence was felt as the Canucks struggled without him. Before the season started, Horvat signed a six-year, $33 million contract worth $5.5 million per season.  Horvat continued to progress as he got 22 goals and 22 assists.


At the time of writing, Bo Horvat has nine goals and six assists in 17 games. That includes a 4-point night in Boston.  He has a Corsi For of 43.8%.

How Bo Horvat proved the doubters wrong

The issue with Bo Horvat when he was drafted was his skating.  During the summer of 2014, he knew that he had to improve his skating to compete at the pro level. He worked with coach Kathy McIlwain to help improve his skating. With McIlwain , he worked on his stride, turns, pivots backskating you name it. Now Horvat looks faster on the ice. He can use his speed to get by players and uses his quick moves to dodge opposing players checks or takeaways.

Horvat once stated that he doesn’t want to be average.  He always wants to improve his game and get better. In the offseason, he goes back to Ontario to work on his game and in practices he listens to the coaches extensively for advice. It seems he takes criticism quite well as he uses it as fuel to help him get better. That is a great quality in not just a hockey player but anyone who wants to be good at something.

Why I like Bo Horvat and what he can do

I’ll admit, I hated the Cory Schneider trade at the time. I also wasn’t a fan of the Horvat selection because I wanted Max Domi. Boy, I am glad that I was wrong. Horvat is my third favourite Canuck right now behind Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser. Horvat has the makings of a dynamic two-way forward. He can play anywhere on the ice. He knows where to be when receiving passes and where his teammates are when looking for a pass.

Horvat knows how to read the game really well as he can be seen chasing after loose pucks and taking it away from opposing players. Horvat is not shy in the physical game and has dropped the gloves before most recently against Noel Acciari. He is a smooth skater who can handle the puck well on his stick and drive to the net to create a scoring chance.

Horvat is a great character in the locker room and on the ice and he should be named the captain. Overall, Bo Horvat is a valuable member to the Vancouver Canucks because he has a great all around game and his presence can be felt on and off the ice.

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He has to be the captain of this team. Horvat is getting better and better and I think he could score 30 goals this year if he stays healthy. Bo will be a great leader and competitor for years to come.  Sure Pettersson and Boeser get a lot of love but Bo Horvat deserves some as well because he is very valuable to the team. There is no doubt that he isn’t slowing down and his best are years are ahead of him.