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Canadiens Linked to Canucks’ Horvat, But Timing Isn’t Right

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Montreal Canadiens interest in Bo Horvat

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.

The Proposal

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.

Non Starter

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.

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Curtis Ault

Who at Sportsnet came up with that proposal? Who likes Bo Horvat that much? Amusing stuff.

Pierre B.

Richard Dixon

Curtis Ault

Cheers Pierre, above was my initial reaction after reading Marc’s article and the proposal he critiqued . Then went and read the Sportsnet article. That sort of trade makes no sense for the Canadiens.

Pierre B.

Bo Horvat is having his greatest season (22 G, 31 P in 31 GP) as a pending UFA. The three previous season, he scored 72 G, 144 P in 195 GP (i.e. a 30 goals, 60 points paces). So yes, he’d be a proven 2nd line center behind Suzuki. Such a deal would only occur if Horvat and the CH agree on contract terms ahead of the transaction. Tempting? Not really. Why not just keep Monahan? Even if the 2023 first round draft is the latest one amongst those that the Canadiens have at the moment of the deal, one can see that it is extremely costly upgrade over Monahan who is just 7 months older. In both case, the reason not to do it is the same: both players will will be seeking a long term commitment and they’ll be far from their prime when the next Canadiens’ contending window reopens. Think of Gallagher contract and how he’s just 3 years older than Horvat. The proposed deal goes against the concept of building a sustainable contender. I’d rather offer more salary to Monahan on a 3-4 years deal than sign either of them a 7-8 years deal. Because of the shear number of prospects and high draft picks, the Canadiens are bound to have a player needing a big raise in 3-4 years (e.g. the MTL 2023 first-round draft pick).
Horvat is so expensive because there are other teams out there competing to win the playoffs this year who want Horvat more than the Canadiens. Why not offer Horvat a contract once he’s an UFA this summer? He would be much cheaper to acquire after the playoffs on a deal like the one that brought Edmundson to Montreal.

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