Sportsnet released a list of four possible landing spots for Vancouver Canucks forward Bo Horvat, with the Montreal Canadiens listed as the first potential destination.
It’s not the first time the Canadiens have been linked to the forward.
Seeing as he’s 27 years old and has produced a healthy amount of offence in past seasons, Horvat is the type of veteran player that could be an ideal fit with the young core of players that are set to be the foundation for the Canadiens’ rebuild.
He’s looking to sign a long-term deal as well, which would ensure a little stability when it comes to the team’s centre depth.
But the proposal in the article represents the exact type of trade the Canadiens should avoid.
Montreal gets: C Bo Horvat.
Vancouver Canucks get: D David Savard, D Jayden Struble, C Owen Beck, 2023 first*, 2024 third
If you haven’t had a chance to do a deep dive into the Canadiens’ current situation, the first part of the deal may make a little sense. It involves a veteran defenceman that holds little value on the trade market, a B-level prospect, and a prospect chosen in the second round of the 2022 Draft.
It would be a steep asking price for a team that’s rebuilding, not to mention the fact that Horvat is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, which could lead to the Canadiens paying handsomely for Horvat and then losing his services with absolutely no return.
And then you have to factor in Owen Beck’s growth, which has shown the Port Hope native clearly should have gone in the first round of last year’s Draft.
At 18 years old, Beck has already doubled his production from last season and continues to be one of the smartest players outside of the NHL. Oh, and it’s also worth noting his faceoff efficiency is elite, and his defensive awareness is fantastic.
Any deal that would involve Beck would have to include a significant return, not an aging forward whose future is quite murky.
But the truly shocking part of the proposal is the inclusion of the 2023 first-round pick.
There is absolutely no way Kent Hughes would consider moving such an important asset in what is expected to be one of the best Drafts in recent memory.
It’s the type of move teams would consider if they’re on the cusp of becoming a Stanley Cup contender rather than being in the first phase of a complete teardown and rebuild.
The Canadiens may be interested in Bo Horvat, but they certainly aren’t interested in mortgaging the future for an aging asset currently signed to an expiring contract.
To be perfectly fair, the analysis portion of the article mentions the Canadiens would not be willing to move a first-round pick for this type of return, and the article itself isn’t suggesting the deal has ever been proposed, nor would the Canadiens be interested.
But it’s worth reminding pundits around the league that Hughes has quickly built a reputation for holding strong in trade negotiations.
And Owen Beck is much more than just a second-round pick.
Hughes has a long-term vision for the Canadiens, and if a deal does not align with his projections, he simply will not entertain the offer.