The New York Islanders didn’t top many rumored trade destinations for Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat, but every now and then, GM Lou Lamoriello surprises the hockey world with a splashy move. He did exactly that on Monday, as the Islanders acquired Horvat in exchange for forwards Anthony Beauvillier and Aatu Räty, plus a protected 2023 first-round draft pick.
The timing of this move is especially interesting since the 2023 NHL trade deadline won’t strike until March 3, but this is an interesting mix of a pick and prospects for the Canucks.
Reviewing the Canucks’ side of the Bo Horvat trade
Beyond the first-rounder, many will judge the Canucks’ takeaway from the Horvat trade by how forwards Beauvillier and Räty pan out.
During a press conference rife with mixed messages, Canucks executive Jim Rutherford noted that a “retool” may focus as much on players in the 24- or 25-year-old range as picks and prospects. Beauvillier falls under that 25-year-old category as he’ll turn 26 on June 8.
The 28th pick of the 2015 NHL Draft, Beauvillier has carved out a solid NHL career, scoring 209 points in 457 games. So far in 2022-23, he has scored nine goals and 11 assists for 20 points in 49 games. He’ll carry a $4.15 million cap hit through 2023-24.
Räty, 20, is an interesting investment in his own right. Several prospect experts wondered if the Islanders got a steal when they selected him in the second round (52nd overall) in 2021, but it’s been an up-and-down development path for the forward. There’s still some interest there, though, as The Athletic’s Corey Pronman ranked Räty the 96th-best player under 23 years old in a recent article.
I will say that I like the addition of Aatu Räty to the Canucks pool. Hell, I would've endorsed him in the spot where they grabbed Danila Klimovich.
Hell of a shot, some handling skill, willing to play in tough parts of the OZ, but the skating and pace stand as areas of concern.
— J.D. Burke (@JDylanBurke) January 30, 2023
Is this mix of a protected first-rounder, Beauvillier, and Räty truly the best deal the Canucks could get in a Horvat trade? Maybe, maybe not. You certainly can’t claim that Vancouver waited until the last second to auction him off, though.
It remains to be seen if this trade works out for the Canucks, Islanders, or neither of the teams involved.
Playoffs no guarantee for Islanders. Could there be another Horvat trade?
Horvat, 27, is due a big raise from his soon-to-expire cap hit of $5.5 million. In just 49 games this season, he has already tied a career-high from last season with 31 goals. His 54 points rank second in his career to the 61 he collected back in 2018-19.
Bo Horvat "in shock" about trade to #Isles
"I want to help this team out as best as possible any way I can."
— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) January 31, 2023
Horvat immediately makes New York more explosive. Then again, it’s unclear if the Islanders will get the most out of a possible Horvat “rental,” as projections merely place them somewhere between a 12-14 percent chance of even making the playoffs.
Considering this trade was made more than a month before the deadline, some wonder if Horvat could be moved again before March 3.
Bo Horvat -> NYI
Horvat is having a strong year and gets traded early enough that the Islanders can also flip him when they're officially out of the playoff race in a month pic.twitter.com/QeOqSGS7xV
— dom 🕰️ (@domluszczyszyn) January 30, 2023
Those low playoff odds create quite the caveat with that protected 2023 first-rounder. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports it’s top-12 protected.
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