Horvat: Pettersson would 'be my vote' for new Canucks captain
"He'd be my vote if it came to it, and I'm sure one of these days, (the captain's 'C' is) going to go on his chest," Horvat said Thursday during media day for the 2023 All-Star Game, according to NHL.com's Tom Gulitti. "So, if it does, I couldn't be more happy for him, and he's obviously going to be a great captain."
Horvat and Pettersson had been teammates since the latter first entered the NHL in 2018-19. That run ended Monday when Vancouver traded Horvat to the New York Islanders in exchange for Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu Raty, and a conditional 2023 first-round selection.
Horvat has liked the progress he's seen from Pettersson over the past five seasons.
"He's grown even more this year with his leadership on the ice," the 27-year-old said. "He's starting to say stuff in the room, and he's really come into his own this year.
"I can't say enough good stuff about Petey; the way he's played this year and the way he handles himself, and he's emerging as a great leader and a great player. And I'm sure he's going to take on a bigger role here, an even bigger role than he already has."
The Canucks named Horvat team captain in 2019.
Pettersson, 24, is enjoying a stellar campaign in what's been a tumultuous year for Vancouver. He leads the Canucks with 58 points in 47 games and is on pace for a career season.
The pair will play together one more time during the All-Star Game on Feb. 4. Horvat was initially voted into the event as a member of the Canucks and will remain on the Pacific Division roster while representing the Islanders.
Pettersson called the festivities their "last ride," according to The Canadian Press' Joshua Clipperton.
"What can I say? It's nothing I can control," Pettersson said of the trade. "Obviously, everybody thought things would play out differently, but (they didn't). Now you can just look ahead and not think of what could have happened."
Drafted fifth overall by the Canucks in 2017, Pettersson leads Vancouver with 279 points in 292 games since making his NHL debut on Oct. 3, 2018.