New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello made a big move Monday by acquiring proven scorer Bo Horvat. In exchange for their captain, the Vancouver Canucks are receiving forwards Anthony Beauvillier and Aatu Räty, as well as a protected 2023 first-round draft pick.
Horvat, who was selected ninth overall by the Canucks in the 2013 NHL Draft, was a pending unrestricted free agent. Leaving the team was not a big surprise, as he and the Canucks could not come to an agreement. The bigger shock was that the Islanders were not among the teams rumored as his next landing spot.
"I'm not going to lie, in the summer time, and even at the beginning of the year, honestly, I thought I was going to be a Canuck. I thought I would be a Canuck life," Horvat said. "Things just didn't work out that way."
The 27-year-old center has already tied his career high of 31 goals, to go along with 23 assists this season. He played 621 games with Vancouver and registered 201 goals and 219 assists for 420 points. The experience Horvat brings to New York includes 23 career Stanley Cup playoff games in which he scored 11 goals and five assists.
He will be a much-needed addition to the Islanders' offense, so it makes sense why they made the move now even though the 2023 NHL trade deadline is not until March 3. He knows some of his teammates already, as he was a member of Team Canada's World Championship team in 2018 alongside current Islanders Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, and Ryan Pulock.
Horvat is in the final season of a six-year contract he signed as a restricted free agent in 2017, which carries a $5.5 million annual average value.