With the NHL’s annual hockey roster freeze from Dec. 20 to 27 fast approaching, the Vancouver Canucks continue to dominate the rumor mill.
On Saturday, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported the Canucks prefer to retool rather than rebuild their roster, adding that the only untouchable is Elias Pettersson. Friedman also said it would take “a mammoth offer” to tempt them into parting with Quinn Hughes, but they’re not interested in moving the 23-year-old defenseman.
As for Bo Horvat, Friedman said the Canucks don’t want to exceed the $56 million they paid out to J.T. Miller in September to re-sign their 27-year-old captain. However, he thinks Horvat would exceed that given his performance this season. With 22 goals in 30 games, he’s among the top five scorers this season and could reach 50 for the first time in his career.
If the Canucks shop Horvat before the March 3 trade deadline, The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun reported they would seek a “hockey deal” rather than a return heavy with draft picks and promising players. He indicated they want to upgrade at center as well as on the right side of their blueline.
LeBrun believes Horvat would be a good fit with the Colorado Avalanche given their ongoing need for a second-line center. NYI Hockey Now’s Stefen Rosner cited a source claiming the Islanders have contacted the Canucks about Horvat.
As for Brock Boeser, LeBrun believes the Minnesota Wild have spoken to the Canucks about the 25-year-old winger. Cap space is an issue for the Wild, and the Canucks aren’t willing to retain any part of the Minnesota native’s $6.65-million cap hit. However, they could be willing to take back a contract in return.
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