Don’t Stop Bo’lievin’
So far this pre-season — and yes, I know it’s still early on — Bo Horvat is playing like he wants to play for the Canucks, almost more than anyone of the other prospects. Horvat scored the game winner during the first pre-season game against the Sharks, but he’s also proven himself as a diverse, well-rounded player in other areas, and he’s only 19.
Horvat, drafted 9th overall by the Canucks in 2013, played 54 games with the London Knights last year (30-44-74), and all 6 preseason games for the Canucks last season. If he doesn’t make the cut this year, back down to the Knights he goes.
We’re all familiar with the drama surrounding a previous Canucks high draft pick — cough, Cody Hodgson, cough — after transitioning from a junior powerhouse to an ‘elite’ young NHL star, and we don’t want to see that happen here. Not that it will — diferent coach and different player — so it’s highly unlikely. Anyway, we all know this issue’s been beaten into the grounded far too many times, so we’ll stop it there.
So, a couple of things: going back to junior may not be a bad thing for someone his age because he’s still so young, but he’d be an incredibly good fit with the big boys in Vancouver. Going back down to junior means playing junior for the entire year and a shot at the World Junior Hockey Championship. Playing with the Canucks means perhaps not playing every night, but the exposure’s there and that would still be incredibly beneficial. If he makes the roster opening night, he’ll be given a 9 game tryout, after which he’ll be sent back down to juniors if his play isn’t up to par.
It seems that the latter is very likely if he keeps playing the way he does through the pre-season. With just under two weeks until opening night, Horvat’s still got plenty of time to prove himself, but with an overabundance of centres on the Canucks roster, he will have to fight tooth and nail for one of those spots during the first 9 games.
(Let’s hope he has a good dental plan.)