Vancouver Canucks fans have been asking for something that could represent a changing of the guard offensively. The transition away from Henrik and Daniel Sedin as the team’s primary offensive producers looks to be a tough one. Despite his recent cold streak, Bo Horvat has emerged as the Canucks offensive driver.
Bo Horvat Becoming Vancouver Canucks Offensive Driver
In 29 games this season, Horvat has put up eight goals and eight assists, ranking second on the team in goals, and third in points. The Sedins remain the primary producers of the team with 19 points for Daniel, and 18 for Henrik. However, this is the first time in a long time that anyone has challenged their reign at the top of the Canucks scoring ladder.
Critics questioned Horvat’s offensive capabilities after the Canucks selected him ninth overall in the 2013 NHL Draft. While strong, many were sceptical as to whether or not they would translate to the big leagues. Many deemed his likely projection to be that of a very good third-line center, or a respectable second liner.
Now, the second line appears to be his floor. Some even speculate as to if he could possibly be the team’s number one for years to come. While his ceiling remains to be seen, the development in Horvat’s foot speed, raw skill, and general dynamic ability has been tremendous, and looks to only improve as time continues to pass.
Continuing an Upwards Trajectory
These developments should not come as too much of a surprise to anyone. Throughout the back half of the treacherous 2015-16 campaign, Horvat was the team’s best player. He led the team in scoring from January onward, taking home the team’s Most Exciting Player award at the end of the season.
His 16 goals and 40 points in all 82 games last year ranked third on the team in both categories. This cemented his sophomore year as a big success for the now 21-year-old. This came on the heels of a 68-game rookie season that saw the former London Knight score a very respectable 13 goals and 25 points in largely fourth line duty.
Now skating alongside veteran Alex Burrows and former Calgary Flames winger Sven Baertschi, Horvat’s trajectory has made him the Canucks offensive driver. He is largely seen as the team’s most valuable player. While his acclaim in junior largely came from his stalwart two-way ability and enviable leadership skills, he is now seen as the Canucks most dangerous player on most nights.
It seems unlikely that Horvat will ever challenge for an Art Ross Trophy, or even hit point-a-game numbers. Canucks fans can be thankful that a young players seems to have the ability to put up top-line numbers . It’s possible that the hockey community has largely underestimated Horvat, but he’s been exceeding expectations.