According to a report from Sportsnet 650 reporter and Vancouver Canucks insider Rick Dhaliwal, Canucks center Bo Horvat has received an invitation from Hockey Canada’s Sean Burke and Martin Brodeur to represent the country at the upcoming 2018 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championships in Denmark next month.
While Horvat has not yet announced whether he’ll accept the invite and play for Canada in the annual tournament, he has admitted to expressing interest in the past. Horvat was disappointed to not represent the team last year after having to decline due to injury.
This time around there’s a good chance that Horvat will wear the maple leaf for team Canada, joining fellow star players Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent Hopkins and Matthew Barzal, all of whom have already accepted their invite. Not a bad looking squad. Not bad at all.
The 23 year old Horvat, who was selected 9th overall in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, had another productive season in Vancouver, hitting a new high in goals with 22. While injuries kept him from matching his 52 points from last season, his 22 goals and 44 points in 64 games during the 2017-18 campaign are impressive indeed. With legendary Canucks centre Henrik Sedin officially retiring after last night’s loss to the Edmonton Oilers, Horvat looks to have a lock on the Canucks’ top line centre ice position. Although, Dhaliwal seems to feel the Canucks may go in another direction, indicating that they could make an offer to pending-free agent Tyler Bozak of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
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If the Canucks come calling, Bozak would be wise to listen, as well. With Henrik retiring the Canucks have Horvat, Brandon Sutter and Sam Gagner down the middle. Bozak fits pretty neatly into that as either a first, second or third line centre. While the Canucks won’t be competing for a Stanley Cup anytime soon, Bozak could at least get some job security in Vancouver and likely make a good chunk of change given the team’s cap situation.
Interesting times in Vancouver. With nearly $20 million in cap space to spend this upcoming offseason, the Canucks could be MAJOR players in the unrestricted free-agent market.