In Vancouver, a recent surge has many fans thinking playoffs once again. The team is just three points out of a wildcard spot, after winning their last four games and going 6-3-1 in their last ten. Pierre LeBrun thinks that adding a rental doesn’t make sense for the team. It’s true, that adding a veteran likely won’t improve the Canucks chances of winning a Stanley Cup, but as Vancouver attendance and revenues have fallen over the past few years it may be a mandate from ownership to try and earn some playoff income.
Ben Kuzma of The Province says that the focus from the front office remains on Bo Horvat and locking him up long term. It’s much more important to their future to get Horvat under a reasonable contract, and the longer they wait the more he’ll likely demand. Horvat is already deep into a career season and on pace to blow last year’s 16 goals and 40 points out of the water. Kuzma compares Horvat to Florida’s Vincent Trocheck, who received a six year, $28.5MM deal this summer. Trocheck was coming off a similar season to Horvat but was older and didn’t have nearly the pedigree that the former ninth-overall pick does.
As Horvat turns just 22 this April, he’s already set to take a crack at a similar deal that escalates through the years. If the Canucks want to lock him up even further into his free agent seasons, it will likely cost them upwards of $5MM.
- David Staples of the Edmonton Journal suggests that the Edmonton Oilers should take a swing at the recently waived Matt Nieto. Staples thinks that since Jesse Puljujarvi isn’t getting regular minutes or linemates, the team should send him down to the AHL to play on their top line, and fill his spot (or that of Benoit Pouliot) with the 24-year old Nieto. Even though he only has two points this season, and 17 last, he did score 24 and 27 points in his first two seasons in the NHL. Perhaps he could find a new home in Edmonton and add to their young core.
- LeBrun went on to talk about Joe Thornton and his upcoming free agency. Thornton will turn 38 a day after free agency opens, and is apparently looking for a three-year deal. While that seems ridiculous in a vacuum, a closer look at his numbers may lend credence to the idea. Thornton scored 82 points last season, his highest mark since 2009-10 and is on pace for another 50+ season despite an unsustainably-low shooting percentage. He remains an elite set-up man and is still among the league leaders in assists. As Darren Dreger adds on Twitter, he hasn’t heard much chatter from either side on a Thornton extension.