The Vancouver Canucks are steaming toward the playoffs, and they’re doing it without captain Bo Horvat, who left a game last week with a lower-body injury. Ruled out for at least two weeks, it seems he only has a chance to return this year if the Canucks do in fact come all the way back and grab a spot in the Western Conference postseason. Even if they are able to do that, his regular season ended with 31 goals in 70 games, a career-high, and a total that sets him up for quite well the summer.
Eligible for an extension in July when the calendar flips from 2021-22 to 2022-23, Horvat has just one year left on his current deal. He would be an unrestricted free agent after that and with the uncertainty surrounding the Canucks after making sweeping changes to the front office, it wasn’t clear if a new contract would be on the table. Today, his agent Pat Morris was on CHEK TV with Rick Dhaliwal, and explained that the Canucks management likes Horvat, and Horvat loves Vancouver and would like to stay. The two sides will “talk when the time is right,” suggesting no negotiations have taken place to this point. While the focus for everyone is on the playoff chase, things in Vancouver will quickly turn to the future if they aren’t able to secure a position in the postseason.
- Evander Kane’s grievance hearing with the league over his contract termination began this morning, according to Darren Dreger of TSN. The Edmonton Oilers forward is away from the team for a few days while he deals with this grievance, which is fighting the process which the San Jose Sharks used to terminate the more than $22MM that remained on his seven-year contract. The decision is not expected for some time and will likely have no impact on his current contract status with the Oilers, regardless of the outcome.
- The league’s leading goal scorer will have to wait for a chance to chase 60, as Auston Matthews is still not playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs this evening, despite feeling “really good” according to head coach Sheldon Keefe, who spoke with reporters including Mark Masters of TSN. The Maple Leafs are obviously more concerned about their first-round playoff matchup than individual performance records, as they still haven’t advanced in the postseason since 2004. Matthews still leads in the Rocket Richard race, four ahead of Leon Draisaitl in second place.