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October 2, 2022

Horvat wants to stay with Canucks, says contract won’t become distraction

Horvat wants to stay with Canucks, says contract won’t become distraction

VANCOUVER — Bo Horvat said he isn’t worried about going into the final year of his contract with the Vancouver Canucks, or the distractions it can potentially create.

The 27-year-old forward is entering the final season of a six-year, $33 million contract ($5.5 million average annual value) he signed four days before training camp in 2017. He can become an unrestricted free agent after this season.

“I can’t let that that kind of stuff bother me,” Horvat said Monday. “I can’t always have it hanging over my head. For me, I have to put my head down and be the best leader I can. I’m a Vancouver Canuck right now and I’m going to be a Vancouver Canuck for this full year and I’m going to try to do whatever I can help this team win and that’s my main focus right now.”

Horvat scored an NHL career-high 31 goals and was tied for fourth in Canucks scoring with 52 points in 70 games last season. Selected ninth by Vancouver in the 2013 NHL Draft, Horvat has 366 points (170 goals, 196 assists) in 572 games in eight seasons with the Canucks. The London, Ontario native has been captain for the past three seasons.

“Obviously my career started here, and my wife and I love the city, we love the people, we love fans and the organization, so you always have that in the back of your mind that you’re going to be a Canuck for life,” Horvat said. “I want that to happen, and we’ll see what happens here but these things do take time and hopefully we can get it done soon.”

Vancouver signed J.T. Miller, who like Horvat was going into the final season of his contract, to a seven-year, $56 million contract ($8 million average annual value) on Sept. 2. 

Miller indicated his side considered cutting off negotiations if they’d been unable to reach an agreement before training camp, which starts Sept. 23, but Horvat isn’t planning to do so.

“I just want to be a great leader, a guy that’s going to show up every single day and work hard and lead by example and do whatever I can help his team win right now because right now I play for the Vancouver Canucks and that’s the way I want it to be,” Horvat said.

Miller, who led the Canucks with 99 points (32 goals, 67 assists) last season, said that it meant a lot to avoid the distraction of starting the season without a new contract, but general manager Patrik Allvin didn’t seem concerned about Horvat potentially dealing with the same contract questions.

“That’s the reality, I guess,” Allvin said Sept. 6. “You still have a year left of your contract and for players, they obviously look at the salary cap and where the teams are and I think they’re being professional but at the same hand, I think they want to have security as well.”

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