VANCOUVER — Brock Boeser remains a restricted free agent for the Vancouver Canucks, and with training camp set to begin Sept. 13, Bo Horvat knows exactly what his teammate is going through.
Horvat signed a six-year, $33 million contract with Vancouver on Sept. 8, 2017, five days before camp began that season.
“It was right before camp. I am happy we got it done when we did,” said Horvat, who had an NHL career-high 61 points (27 goals, 34 assists) in 82 games last season. “It is stressful because you want to get a deal done, you want to get back with your teammates, and you want to be there for camp and get going before the season starts. It definitely helps that way to get you mentally and physically prepared for the season, so I thought it was huge to get it done.”
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Horvat said he has talked to Boeser, who was third on the Canucks last season with 56 points (26 goals, 30 assists) despite missing 13 games because of a groin injury.
Boeser had 55 points (29 goals, 26 assists) in 62 games in 2017-18, missing the final 16 games because of a back injury, and finished second in voting for the Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year behind Mathew Barzal of the New York Islanders.
“Obviously, Brock wants to be here, he wants to be part of the team, so now hopefully they can get something done and he can come be with his teammates,” Horvat said.
One of the reasons Horvat said he wanted to sign his contract before training camp began was the trend of players having poor seasons after missing camp.
“It is in the back of your mind. Guys have had history where they come in late and get off to rocky starts,” Horvat said. “That was one of the big reasons why we signed so quick.”
With Vancouver hoping to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in five seasons, it can ill afford a slow start from Boeser, who plays on the top line and power play with center Elias Pettersson, who won the Calder Trophy last season after he led rookies with 66 points (28 goals, 38 assists) in 71 games.
“Definitely it would be good to have him for training camp, especially team bonding and getting used to systems and new guys,” Horvat said. “But at the same time, Brock is a great hockey player. He is going to figure it out no matter what, and hopefully he can get something done in the near future.”