Seven. That’s the number of goals the New York Islanders have scored over their last five games. As head coach Lane Lambert tries to find answers internally, general manager Lou Lamoriello is likely scouring the market for potential external options as the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline quickly approaches.
NYI Hockey Now learned on Dec. 14 that the New York Islanders had checked in on 27-year-old centerman Bo Horvat, the current captain of the Vancouver Canucks.
The soon-to-be unrestricted free agent is in the midst of a career campaign, with 30 goals and 18 assists in 43 games.
In the Islanders’ 6-2 win over the Canucks back on Jan. 3., Horvat potted a pair as he got it done at five-on-five and on the power play.
The Canucks have struggled mightily this season, with an 18-22-3 record, with just three wins over their last 10 games.
On Monday morning, Vancouver Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford spoke to the media to provide a status report on the team, as well as Bo Horvat’s contract situation.
“I believe we’ve taken out best shot. And the contract that we have on the table for Bo [Horvat] right now, I think, is a fair contract for what he’s done up until this year,” Rutherford said. “But it’s certainly under market value for what he’s done this year.”
“We’re in a pickle here.”
A pickle, they are indeed in.
Horvat set a career-high in goals last season with 31 in a 52-point campaign. He’s on pace for over 57 goals this season–a clear career outlier.
It’s not the same situation we saw with New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, who banked on himself in a contract year and added an extra 130 million dollars to the piggy bank. Horvat could have signed an extension before the start of the 2021-22 season but chose not to. And now, given his play, he will get paid accordingly.
What it also means is that the Canucks could get a fortune in assets at the deadline.
The Islanders, one of many teams that have shown interest in the forward, will have north of $10 million in available cap space on Mar. 3.
Bo Horvat carries a cap hit of $5.5 million.
The question is do the Islanders have the assets to get Horvat to Long Island?