On Monday, the New York Islanders made the first blockbuster deal of the NHL season, as they acquired Bo Horvat from the Vancouver Canucks for Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu Räty, and a 2023 conditional first-round pick.
Beauvilier leaves behind tremendous teammates who he went to battle with, coming up of glory twice in two elongated runs to the Stanley Cup semi-finals and now joins a Canucks team looking to rebuild.
“Yeah, definitely a crazy couple of hours here,” Beauvillier said during his Tuesday morning media availability. “But yeah, it was definitely exciting to hear that I was part of Vancouver, and yeah, definitely, like I said, definitely some mixed emotions here. Tough to leave the islanders, but at the same time very, very excited to join this Canucks organization.”
Beauvillier showed promising signs of becoming a consistent NHL scorer for the Islanders, but the inconsistent finishing ability is what ultimately led to him being shipped out. Despite plenty of chances, he scored just nine goals in 49 games, with 11 assists.
“I had some good years to start and kind of slowed down last two seasons,” Beauvillier said. “But I feel like my numbers don’t really speak for the way I played this year, just had a lot of opportunities and just really couldn’t find the back of the net, I would say.”
“But very excited to find my game again in Vancouver and very excited to join this group.”
While Beauvillier will miss everyone on this team, this trade does mean he parts ways with his best friend Mathew Barzal.
Beauvillier and Barzal were both first-round draft picks by the Islanders back in 2015 and have played roles in one another’s development into NHL talent.
But for those of you that do not know, their friendship began before both were Islanders.
They met at the 2012 Allstate All-Canadians Mentorship Camp, where Barzal shared with Cory Wright of NHL.com that they were both the two most outrageous guys in the locker room.
In 2014, they were back together at Team Canada’s U-18 development camp, where they were roommates. Unfortunately, for Beauvillier, he broke his arm at the tournament, and Barzal helped him quite a bit.
Beauvillier was actually not aware that Barzal had been drafted 12 picks higher that him at the 2015 NHL draft.
“I was talking to management right after I got drafted, and I was like, who did we draft? They said Barzy’s name, and I was like, ‘no way,'”, Beauvillier told NHL.com.
It’s been a journey, an emotional one full of success and failures.
At the start of this season, Barzal and the Islanders came to terms on an eight-year extension. Beauvillier told NYI Hockey Now that Barzal’s phone call to tell him about the news was an emotional one, with tears.
“I’m so happy for him. He’s worked his whole life to get to this point, and he was emotional when he told me, so it was definitely great,” Beauvillier said. “I was happy for him, and I’m glad he’s staying on the island for another eight years, and couldn’t be more happy for him. I mean, he deserves it. He’s played unbelievable since the start of his career. So yeah, I’m super happy.”
Under four months later, Beauvillier is now in Vancouver, and Barzal remains on the island.
Prior to Beauvillier’s media availability, Barzal posted the following to Instagram:
— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) January 31, 2023
NYI Hockey Now asked Beauvillier shortly after what it was like living the NHL dream alongside his best friend.
“It was definitely cool going through a lot with him,” Beauvillier said. “Just him texting me that I can probably take his old bedroom in Vancouver is pretty funny.”
“It’s been a hell of a ride with him, and he’s gonna stay one of my best friends forever.”
Beauvillier is responsible for scoring the biggest playoff goal for the organization since Shawn Bates’ penalty shot goal in Game 4 of the 2002 Eastern Conference Quarter Finals against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
With the Islanders down three games to two against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoff semi-finals, Beauvillier sent the Nassau Colisuem crowd into a frenzy as he sniped netminder Andrei Vasilevsiky over the glove to force a Game Seven.
Anthony Beauvillier is the OT hero & Nassau Coliseum goes CRAZY! 🚨
— Tim and Friends (@timandfriends) June 24, 2021
Anthony Beauvillier ends his New York Islanders career with 102 goals and 107 assists in 457 regular season games, with 15 goals and 14 assists in 49 playoff games.
The Vancouver Canucks are in town Thursday, Feb. 9, as Beauvillier will get a tribute video and a standing ovation.