Islanders acquire Bo Horvat for Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu Raty in trade with Canucks
Lou Lamoriello made a win-now move the president/general manager also insists can help the Islanders in the future.
But only if he can sign All-Star Bo Horvat to an extension.
“It’s our intention to retain him, certainly, for more than this year,” Lamoriello said.
The Islanders on Monday acquired the pending unrestricted free-agent center from the Canucks for left wing Anthony Beauvillier, top forward prospect Aatu Raty and a top-12 protected, conditional first-round pick in 2023. The Islanders have not picked in the first round since 2019.
Horvat, 27, the ninth overall pick in 2013, has 31 goals and 23 assists in 49 games for the Canucks, including 11 goals and seven assists on the power play, as he completes a six-year, $33 million deal. Horvat, who instantly becomes the Islanders leader in goals, points (54), power-play goals (11) and power-play points (18), said, at one point, he thought he’d be a “Canuck for life.”
The Islanders will resume their season on Monday in Philadelphia. Horvat was selected to the Pacific Division team for the NHL All-Star Weekend on Friday and Saturday in Sunrise, Florida, and said he expects to participate even though he’ll now play for a Metropolitan Division team.
“A little bit in shock and it’s been a big whirlwind for me right now, and my family,” said the Canucks’ captain since 2019, speaking while on vacation with his wife and children and often getting emotional when discussing his departure from Vancouver. “I’ve heard lots of unbelievable things about the organization, the city and all the players on it.”
Like Lamoriello, Horvat said there have been no discussions yet toward a contract extension.
“It all happened so fast,” Horvat said. “No talk on that yet. We’ll have to see if we can get something done. But I’ll leave that to Pat [Morris, his agent] and everybody to handle that.”
The Islanders (25-22-5) won their last two games before their All-Star break but are in 10th place in the Eastern Conference after going 4-8-3 in January.
The NHL trade deadline isn’t until March 3, but the Islanders scored only 29 goals this month, including two or fewer in seven straight games and 12 of their last 13. Their power play is 0-for-25 in their last 10 games and 3-for-64 since Dec. 10.
“First of all, he brings a two-way game,” Lamoriello said. “Used in all situations. Without question is on the verge of having a career year.”
Horvat’s acquisition gives the Islanders five centers, including Mathew Barzal, fellow All-Star Brock Nelson, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Casey Cizikas.
“I’ll let the coaching staff make the decisions of what the best lines will be,” Lamoriello said. “We’ve got some versatility with our centers. But I’ve always said if you had a choice of having too many wings or too many centers, there’s not even a question of what the answer is. Centers can always adapt but wingers can’t adapt to center ice.”
Coach Lane Lambert has yet to settle on long-term linemates for Barzal. Beauvillier played on the top line the last four games, but it’s been a revolving door otherwise.
Pairing Barzal and Horvat — regardless of who slides to wing — is likely.
“I have a lot of respect for Mat’s game,” Horvat said. “His ability to make plays and pass the puck. He’s got a lot of offensive talent and I think I can complement that with some two-way play.”
Beauvillier, 25, was in his seventh season with the Islanders after being selected 28th overall in 2015 and has one season remaining on his three-year, $12.45 million deal. Lamoriello said the Canucks are retaining 25% of Horvat’s salary to match the cap hits for him and Beauvillier.
Beauvillier has nine goals and 11 assists in 49 games this season and never bested the 21 goals he scored in his second season. Raty, 20, who was picked 52nd overall in 2021, had two goals in his first 12 NHL games for the Islanders. If the first-round pick in this deal is a top-12 selection, the Canucks will get the Islanders’ first-round pick in 2024.
Lamoriello also has traded first-round picks to acquire Pageau, Kyle Palmieri and defenseman Alexander Romanov.
The Canucks will visit UBS Arena three days after Horvat’s projected debut with the Islanders.
“That is going to be an interesting game, to say the least,” said Horvat, who was in his ninth season with the Canucks. “It’s going to be a little weird skating on the other side of the ice from all my ex-teammates. It’s a game I’ve already circled on my calendar and I can’t wait to play.”
The Bo Horvat File
Born: April 5, 1995
Birthplace: London, Ontario
NHL seasons: 9
Draft: 2013, Vancouver, 1st round, 9th overall
Contract: Pending unrestricted free agent