Cage Match: Bo Horvat vs. Nick Schmaltz

Rick Roos


This week’s battle is between Bo Horvat and Nick Schmaltz, where we can focus not just on the players themselves but also the age-old question of whether it’s better to own the arguably best player on a poor team (i.e., Horvat) or someone who’s perhaps a lesser talented player but lucky enough to be tethered to a superstar (Schmaltz and Patrick Kane). Cage Match is on the case and starts now!

Career Path and Contract Status

Horvat, 23, was drafted ninth overall in 2013 and returned to the OHL for his age 18 season, posting 74 points in 54 games. Between that and the struggles of the Canucks as a team (missing the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade), Horvat was in the NHL for nearly all of 2014-15, posting 25 points in 68 games. Although the team has largely continued to fare poorly in subsequent years, it hasn’t stopped Horvat’s development, as he’s seen his scoring rate increase with each passing season, from 30 as a rookie, to 40 in 2015-16, to 52 in 2016-17, to 56 last season. Where concern lies, however, is that in two of his four seasons he missed 14 and 18 games, so he might be on his way to Band-Aid Boy status.

Schmaltz, 22, was selected 20th overall in 2014 and opted to play two seasons of college hockey, seeing his scoring jump from 26 points in 38 games in his age 18 season to 46 in 37 contests as a sophomore while helping lead his team to a national championship. Schmaltz spent the bulk of 2016-17 with Chicago, posting 28 points in 61 games. Amid the return of Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp for 2017-18 expectations for Schmaltz weren’t high going into the season; however, he found instant chemistry with Patrick Kane and when the dust settled had scored 52 points in 78 games.

Horvat is signed through 2023 on a deal that counts $5.5M annually versus the cap and will leave him a UFA at its completion, while 2018-19 will mark the last season on Schmaltz’s ELC that dings the cap at a mere $0.925M.

Ice Time


Total Ice Time per game

(rank among team’s forwards)

PP Ice Time per game

(rank among team’s forwards)

SH Ice Time per game

(rank among team’s forwards)


19:21 (B.H.) – 1st

18:14 (N.S.) – 3rd

2:42 (B.H.) – 4th

2:40 (N.S.) – 4th

1:35 (B.H.) – 8th (tied)

1:19 (N.S.) – 6th


18:02 (B.H.) – 5th

13:16 (N.S.) – 9th