NHL trade rumors: Where things stand with Canucks star Bo Horvat

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NHL trade rumors: Where things stand with Canucks star Bo Horvat originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Vancouver Canucks are the team to watch as the March 3 NHL trade deadline approaches.

Canucks captain Bo Horvat is the best player rumored to be available. He's a 27-year-old center having a career-best season with 48 points (30 goals, 18 assists) in 43 games. His 30 goals are one behind his career-high of 31 set last season, and we're not even in February yet.

The Canucks held a press conference with general manager Jim Rutherford on Monday. He was, of course, asked about Horvat's future, and he noted that the franchise has taken its "best shot" to re-sign Horvat, who can become an unrestricted free agent this July.

“We, I believe, have taken our best shot,” Rutherford told reporters. “The contract we have on the table for Bo I think is a fair contract for what he’s done up until this year. But it’s certainly under market value for what he’s done this year.”

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If Horvat doesn't re-sign, the Canucks would be smart to trade him and avoid the disastrous scenario of seeing him walk in free agency without getting anything in return.

TSN's Pierre LeBrun said earlier this week that the Canucks have "checked in" with just about every contender about a potential Horvat trade.

"The Canucks continue to explore what the trade market looks like for, really, their No. 1 guy that could be dealt; that’s Bo Horvat, the captain. He’s having a career-year and they’ve pretty much checked in with almost every contender," LeBrun said during TSN's "Insider Trading" segment.

"One of them being, I’m told, the Carolina Hurricanes. A lot of people like the Hurricanes as a fit for Horvat. Remember Carolina struggled offensively in the playoffs last year? Well, what a boost it could be. And he skates, which is what that team is about in terms of speed. But, the price is too steep I think for the Hurricanes  at this point. As we reported last month, the Canucks would want a young centre as part of a multi-asset package. They’re not getting Martin Necas from the Hurricanes. Carolina doesn’t spend high on rentals traditionally. I don’t think they’ll break that path here for Bo Horvat. So we’ll see where this goes."

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The Hurricanes sit atop the Metropolitan Division with a 27-9-8 record (62 points) -- 10 behind the Boston Bruins for first place in the Eastern Conference. The Hurricanes are already a tough matchup for the Bruins. Acquiring Horvat would only strengthen Carolina's chances in a potential playoff series against Boston in May.

The Bruins are a good fit for Horvat, too, but Boston doesn't have the same quality of trade assets that other contenders possess. The B's also are tight against the salary cap. If the Bruins were able to acquire Horvat and sign him to a contract extension soon after -- similar to what they did with Hampus Lindholm last year -- that would be the ideal scenario.

However, according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman, "To this point, Vancouver has not allowed any teams to speak with the pending UFA. We will see if that changes."

Giving up prime assets for a rental, especially when the Bruins' prospect pool is already pretty weak, isn't a smart idea.