Should the Philadelphia Flyers trade for Bo Horvat?

Philadelphia Flyers, Bo Horvat (Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports)
Philadelphia Flyers, Bo Horvat (Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports) /

We all know the Philadelphia Flyers could use a scorer. The last Flyer to score 30 goals a season? Sean Couturier in 2018-19. The last time the Flyers had two 30+ goal scorers? 2017-18 with Claude Giroux (34) and Couturier (31).

So, when a three-time 30+ goal scorer becomes available on the market, you gotta take notice. Is this something the Flyers can pull off? The player in question: Bo Horvat, center for the Vancouver Canucks.

This is the last year for Horvat on his current contract. He will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this year. The 27-year-old center is currently making $5.5 million this year. He was the ninth overall pick in 2013; the same year the Flyers would select Sam Morin two picks later.

With his contract running out, the Canucks have made offers to resign him. Reports have the Canucks offering him an eight-year deal worth $5.125 million. This is less money than he is making now with Vancouver ($5.5 million) after his six-year $33 million deal. Like the Flyers, the Canucks are all tied up with the salary cap and don’t have a lot of wiggle room to maneuver.

On Tuesday, Horvat put out the following statement:

"I am focused on this season and playing for the Vancouver Canucks, helping the team in any way I can. I will not have any further comments this year about my future."

The Philadelphia Flyers could use a player like Bo Horvat

Hmmmmm… Sounds like he is done in British Columbia. And even if he isn’t, this sounds ominous for the Canucks. Granted, sometimes players and teams play hardball and these things happen. Phillies fans saw this a year or so ago with JT Realmuto.

But if he wants out, where does this leave Vancouver? Well, the first thing is that other NHL teams, like a shark, will smell blood in the water. They will know a team that is desperate and has no room to maneuver. We saw this past summer when the team, allegedly, took offers for James van Riemsdyk that were less than optimal.

Reports say that the Canucks will want a high-end, NHL-ready defensive prospect. As of right now, the upcoming draft is pretty weak on defenders with the top prospect mocking in at around mid to late third round. Yikes! So, that’s a starting price for Horvat.

You can probably throw other prospects or players and maybe some draft picks in as well. That’s also not guaranteeing that he will stick around. That’s just to rent him for the rest of this season. It could end up being like the Giroux trade where he ends up leaving his new team after the season concludes.

So, should the Flyers go get him? After all, this wouldn’t be the first time the Flyers snagged a player who was disgruntled on one team and brought him to Philly. Most famously, the Flyers shipped off Rod Brind’amour in an effort to grab Keith Primeau. Brindy had a career that could be hall of fame worthy while Primeau, hampered by injuries, had a good, if not great, career as a Flyer. More recently, the Flyers swung a deal for Rasmus Ristolainen from Buffalo and signed him to a long-term deal.

What would it take to get him? Well, if they want a defensive prospect, you are probably looking at saying good be to Cam York and/or Egor Zamula to start. It would be nice to see if we could get them to take a bite on Risto or Ivan Provorov, but that is probably unlikely unless it was a package deal.

JVR’s contract comes off the books at the end of this year. That gives the Flyers $7 million to play with. Justin Braun’s $1 million will also come off. After that, the Flyers will have some RFA’s to deal with and will have to see if they want to resign players like Lukas Sedlak and Patrick Brown.

A player like Horvat would probably command $5-6 million a year. He will be the youngest center (28) who will command top dollar as players like Jonathan Toews, Ryan O’Reilly, Patrice Bergeron, and Jordan Staal are a bit older and other players like Dylan Strome and Pavel Zacha aren’t up to Horvat’s level.

If he is traded, Horvat would probably wait to hit the market and wait for a bidding war. If that is the case, unless the Flyers were to move some major cap space, he would be out of their reach. But if he would do a sign and trade, this is worth looking into.

Oh, there is one more wrinkle to this that could help the Flyers out. Horvat’s second cousin plays in the NHL. His name is Travis Konecny. They never played on the same team but did play against each other often in juniors. TK could easily be a lure to attract him to Philly.

Either way, this season is showing the Flyers need some firepower up front. Their defense is steady and they have a great goalie, but they need to score. If they don’t trade for him, they should at least have his agent’s number on speed dial come June.