Canucks captain Bo Horvat makes statement as trade talks turn

Bo Horvat doesn’t want to talk about his future with the Vancouver Canucks.

Still, after recent reports about his contract status, the Canucks captain found himself surrounded by microphones after practice on Tuesday.

The 27-year-old center is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, and several outlets have reported that he and his managers recently turned down the Canucks’ last offer for a new deal.

“I’ve always wanted to keep such things secret,” Horvat told reporters. “And from the start of this season I just wanted to focus on hockey, focus on the team, on winning games and leading this team by example, and not let that distract me.”

Vancouver is reportedly listening to trade offers for its first-place pivot.

“The news was very impressive,” Horvat said.

He, his parents, and his wife were bombarded with text messages, and the news also leaked into Vancouver’s locker room.

“I feel sorry for my teammates who have to hear this in the media,” he said. “And I don’t want that to be a distraction, so I apologize to them.”

Horvat is in the final year of a six-year deal with an average annual value of US$5.5 million, and likely expects a substantial raise.

The Canucks (12-13-3) have struggled this year, but Horvat looks set for a career-best season with 20 goals and 9 assists in 28 games.

He became the fourth top scorer in the league on Tuesday night, behind Edmonton’s Connor McDavid (25), Dallas’ Jason Robertson (23) and Buffalo’s Tage Thompson (21).

“I tried to put [contract talks] Horvat, who was named the 14th captain in Canucks history in October 2019, said, “In the back of my mind, just go play and try to get this team to the playoffs and do everything I can to help the team win.”

“I’m trying not to let it distract me and it’s been fine so far.”

First selected ninth overall by the Canucks in the 2013 NHL entry tryouts, the 1.80-foot, 215-pound Londoner Ont. has amassed 395 points (190 goals, 205 assists) in 600 regular season games with Vancouver.

“I want to be a Vancouver Canuck. Right now I’m a Vancouver Canuck until they say otherwise,” Horvat said. “For me, I have nothing but respect for this organization. I have been very loyal to this organization and will continue to be.”

Horvat said through the team on Tuesday that he would not comment further on his future this year.

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