Yes, I know that the first round of the playoffs just ended and we’re six months away from next season starting. ¬†We’ll talk about the second round matchups on a podcast that will drop on Tuesday. ¬†I don’t believe that people will get much out of me posting notes about the playoffs so what better time to drop my first sleeper post for next year? ¬†Bo Horvat, also known as Dr. Bo in these parts, has been talked about for months as a fantasy sleeper for next season by yours truly. ¬†What can we expect from Horvat next season and why is he a sleeper?
There are three main reasons why I like Horvat. ¬†The first is simply natural progression. ¬†Horvat, the ninth overall pick in 2013, has increased his point total every season in his career. ¬†The 22 year old scored 25 points as a rookie, 40 points as a sophomore and in his third season (2016-17), Horvat registered 52 points (20+32). ¬†The penalty minutes and shots were also a career high. ¬†It’s reasonable to expect continued improvement solely on Dr. Bo moving towards his prime.
The second reason is increased opportunity. ¬†Horvat’s minutes increased to 18:02 on average this season. ¬†I’m expecting that number to increase even more given that the Sedins are getting older. ¬†Horvat was already being used as a shutdown center but the Canucks should feel safe using him in all situations, including the power play. ¬†The power play provides massive opportunity for improvement. ¬†He had only 10 power play points this season since he didn’t play on the first unit the entire season. ¬†I’d be shocked if Horvat isn’t on the first unit next season since it finished that way in 2016-17. ¬†Push that number into the high teens and we see plenty of upside.
The late reason is an improved quality of teammate. ¬†Yes, the Canucks were a disaster this season finishing 29th, but in addition to Horvat, there are plenty of bright spots going forward. ¬†Brock Boeser¬†jumped from the NCAA to the NHL and looked great in his last nine games. ¬†Nikolay Goldobin¬†has incredible upside as a scoring winger. ¬†Sven Baertschi¬†made steady improvement this season primarily on Horvat’s wing. ¬†On top of that, they have a great chance at a top pick in this draft. ¬†While this draft is weaker at the top compared to the last few seasons, if the Canucks hold as a top two pick, they’re going to get a player who can make an instant impact. ¬†Horvat doesn’t need that to happen to take the next step but it certainly wouldn’t hurt. ¬†Perhaps¬†Loui Eriksson¬†bounces back or they make a splash in free agency as well.
To summarize, if we start at a 50 point baseline for Horvat, increased power play usage alone should push him towards 60 points. ¬†Add in continual improvement in Horvat’s game at even strength and improved linemates and you can see why I’m excited for Horvat. ¬†I’m not going to give him projections this far out but let’s say that I expect him to get at least 60 points and there’s even some upside from there. ¬†For a guy who definitely won’t be ranked in the top 100, there should be plenty of value from Dr. Bo.
Any thoughts or doubts? ¬†Let me know in the comments section below. ¬†Reid and I will record a podcast recapping the first round and previewing the second round on Tuesday so look for that to drop in the afternoon. ¬†Thanks for reading, take care!