The man from Rodney Ontario is hungry for playoff hockey and is like any Canuck is frustrated with being on the outside looking in.
“I don’t want to go through the motions in the regular season and be done in April,” Horvat told The Athletic’s Thomas Drance on the VanCast. “I want to be playing in the playoffs, it’s the best time to play, it’s when I find I take my game to the next level. I think we have the team here to get there. We just have to prove it now. Enough is enough, we can talk all we want, at the end of the day we have to go out there and prove it on the ice.”
Horvat has produced decent offensive numbers in his career to date and has proven to be a reliable second line centre.
For the past few seasons, Horvat was tasked with lots of defensive work. His defensive game declined the past three seasons as shown in this Canucks Army article by Bill Huan thanks to his workload.
Horvat’s offensive game is one of his best assets. Earlier in his career and when he was drafted, it was said Horvat had the potential to be a two-way force in the NHL. That hasn’t materialized thanks to his defensive decline but doesn’t mean Horvat isn’t a good player.
This upcoming season is going to be a big year for Horvat. He doesn’t have to do a lot defensively thanks to the arrival of Jason Dickinson for the third line. Dickinson is already a proven and reliable defensive centre so that will give Horvat the chance to focus more on his offence instead of playing shutdown minutes.
Wingers for Horvat has been a need for the Canucks the past few years and the arrival of Conor Garland will help free up his offensive game.
Garland already has a reputation of a being a goal scorer and an excellent playmaker and forechecker. Together he and Horvat could find some chemistry and expect lots of goals to come from the both of them.
Nils Höglander has shown chemistry with Horvat last season. Per NaturalStatTrick, Horvat and Höglander had 53.17% Corsi For and 52.08% Expected Goals for. Without him, Horvat had a 44.95 CF percentage. He also gave up 19 high danger goals against without Höglander and the two of them only gave up nine together.
Höglander also provides some grit and offensive output like Garland but in his rookie season has proven he is solid defensively and hopefully it can continue into his sophomore season. That way he can take care of the defensive work while Horvat drives the offense.
Since it is likely, (and it’s the line Canucks fans will probably want to see.) that Horvat will play with Höglander and Garland to start the year. Horvat is going to benefit with those two because both players are great finishers and pretty good passers. Horvat himself also displays those qualities and that line could take the load off the Lotto Line a little and provide tons of scoring.
Whoever is on his line, Horvat shouldn’t be doing too much defensively anymore and expect a big year offensively from him next season.
Do you think Horvat will have a great year offensively? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below!