Who is this guy?
Born: April 5, 1995 in London, ON, Canada
What'd he do?
Bo Horvat had a relatively productive rookie season, playing in 68 games while scoring 13 goals with 12 assists for 25 points. The No. 9 overall pick from the 2013 NHL Entry Draft stuck around for the rest of the year after recording five points (1-4-5) in his first 17 NHL games. Horvat also proved to be a valuable asset in the face-off circle, more on that below. The kid's got a bright future ahead of him.
So was he any good?
Horvat was an incredibly valuable member of the Canucks this year, and it's got to make Willie, Linden and Benning all giddy inside to know that Horvat is only 20 years old with his whole career ahead of him. More than anything else, Horvat was absolute money in the face-off circle. In Game 3 and Game 6 of Vancouver's playoff matchup with the Flames, Horvat won 77.8 and 78.6 percent of his face-offs, respectively. He consistently put up games where he was winning 60 percent or more of the draws he lined up for, something the Canucks have desperately needed.
Horvat was also one of the more productive guys for the Canucks in another short playoff appearance, registering four points (1-3-4) in six games. That was tied for most on the team along with the Sedins, Jannik Hansen and Radim Vrbata.
You need a center to be a good source of offensive production, and Horvat certainly knew how to shoot the puck. This year, Horvat's shooting percentage (14%) was fourth-highest on the team among guys who played at least half the season. This could definitely be a guy who becomes Vancouver's top center in the not-too-distant future once Henrik Sedin (and his brother, probably) rides off into the sunset.
What'd we like?
Cool. So what'd we hate?
Maybe it's just because I like everything about the kid, but it was hard to find much to hate about Horvat's first season in the NHL. About the only thing I could come up with was his plus-minus rating, which was -8, tied for worst on the team with Luca Sbisa. But hey, could've been worse, right? *Looks across room to Alex Edler*
When you look at his splits, his plus-minus was an even zero at home and -8 on the road. He posted a -3 against the Flames (not including the playoffs) and had a -4 rating in the last five games of April before the playoffs.
Horvat also struggled a bit at the end of the season, failing to score in the final 11 games of the regular season. Maybe the energetic kid just ran out of gas after his first full NHL season.
So what now?
Horvat has another two years on his entry-level deal. The Canucks owe him $925,000 a year for the next two seasons (the rookie max). After that, they'll most likely be looking at needing to throw some considerable cash his way. But hey, if the Canucks have room to throw over $10 million at Luca Sbisa, I'm sure keeping Horvat happy won't be an issue.
Sean's rating for Bo Horvat: B+
I loved Horvat's play in the face-off circle all season long. I didn't like how he faded a bit at the end of the season and had the worst plus-minus rating on the team. But at the end of the day, when it comes to fourth line centers, Horvat is about as solid as it gets, with plenty of time to improve on his first year in the league.