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Islanders Mailbag: Bo Horvat Deal ‘Makes Me Want To Go To Games Again’



New York Islanders, Bo Horvat

Welcome to NYI Hockey Now’s first mailbag since Monday’s blockbuster Bo Horvat trade. The Islanders parted ways with Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu Räty, and a 2023 conditional first-round pick, 12-team protected, to land the Canucks captain.

As of now, the pending unrestricted free agent has not agreed to a contract extension with New York, but general manager Lou Lamoriello was adamant that they would do everything they could to re-sign him, hinting that in no way, shape, or form, was Horvat being a rental the plan.

Here’s myself chatting about Lamoriello on the Donnie and Dhali show:

Many questioned the move as the Islanders are not in a playoff spot right now, and their play in January was troublesome, with selling being the right route.

Many love the move because the Islanders finally get a high-caliber player to play alongside Mathew Barzal, likely long-term, and it also shows that the Islanders aren’t mailing in the season–but going for it.

With that, let’s get to your questions, comments, and concerns:

Good trade. Great trade if he re-signs. Added strength to the powerplay, another legitimate center that gives Barzal freedom to carry the puck and distribute. Gave up a prospect C that isn’t a guarantee, protected this years, pick top 12, and a 3rd line winger that’s inconsistent. (@Tjhdp11)

As for the re-sign, I think immediately to the J.T. Miller’s contract extension, which was an eight-year deal worth $64 million ($8 million AAV).

Horvat seemed to fill a bit betrayed that the Canucks offered Miller much more than they offered him. So, I think Horvat may ask for $8.5 million over seven to eight years. But if Lamoriello can get the deal to have an AAV under $8 million, that would a bonus.

This guy puts pucks in net, ranking eighth in the NHL with 31 goals. He plays on the power play, with 11 of those 31 coming with the man advantage.

Beauvillier had run his course in New York, and Lamoriello was able to rid his contract in the process. Räty has the potential to be a really good player in this league, but as Räty said Tuesday morning, “that’s the business,” and you need to give to get. The fact that the first-rounder is conditional is critical, as it’s a safety blanket if the Islanders do fall out of the race when the season returns from the All-Star break.

Assuming we re-sign him, it’s a great trade. What are you hearing on an extension? (@Deplorable1619)

I haven’t heard a number, but speculated above. I did hear late Monday night following the trade from a trusted source that the Islanders were working hard to get a deal done.

I can’t imagine he steps foot on the ice without already being signed. That’s just the way Lamoriello operates as if this was a gamble move and not a guaranteed extension, that’s likely how he goes out as president and general manager of the organization. You know, unless he were to flip Horvat at the trade deadline, which again makes the timing of this trade instrumental.

I think the trade is not necessarily to make the playoffs this year but looking ahead to upcoming years (assuming a signing). Making the playoffs this year would be gravy. (@MikeCarriere10)

Couldn’t agree more. If the Islanders don’t add anyone else, despite having over $11.3 million in projected deadline cap space, then they still may miss the playoffs.

Lamoriello said numerous times during his media availability on Monday that this is not a short-term move and it’s about getting a player in his prime.

Would you use Pulock in deal to get Erik Karlsson. Pipe dream, I know. But this team really needs a dynamic puck moving D man. I feel Pulock has regressed and isn’t providing the necessary offense this team needs, especially on the power play (@AndreMinassian)

I don’t think Ryan Pulock is on the table right now. Sure, his offense did not progress the way the organization would have liked. But he did team up with Adam Pelech, which became one of the best shutdown defense pairings in the entire NHL.

Both agreed to long-term contract extensions prior to the start of last season.

The Islanders could go get a speedy defenseman, like Arizona Coyotes Shayne Gostisbehere, or send anything and everything to get rising star Jakob Chychrun.

Karlsson, 32, is being paid $11.5 million annually through the 2026-27 season. I don’t think that’s even being considered.

Do you think Varly would comes back to the Isles next season knowing he’s a backup, or is he set on being a No. 1 somewhere else? (<span

Honestly, if you asked me that question a few months ago, I would have told you no. But now, I think it’s actually more likely to happen.

The New York Post’s Ethan Sears sat down with Semyon Varlamov before the All-Star break, and he shared that he wanted to extend his time here.

Now, I think Varlamov knows that he can be a starter on a handful of teams, and if the Islanders don’t want to pay him what he asks for, he can go get paid elsewhere. But it sounds like Varlamov understands his position as a backup and, quite frankly, relishes in it. Plus, he’s got an incredible relationship with Sorokin and the rest of those guys in the room.

Ok, are they going to add more because this won’t get them over the hump and at least into the playoffs alone, will it? (@Upstate_isles)

I don’t think Horvat along gets this team into the postseason. It certainly gives them a better chance, but there’s a hole on the Islanders top line alongside what we expect to be Horvat and Mathew Barzal.

If Lamoriello can go out an get another top-six winger, that’s a need, along with another defenseman, with some speed but more structurally sound than a Sebastian Aho.

Do you think Barzal will be able to take that next step to elevate his game now that he has someone on the same level playing with him? (@breannaaa418)

I asked Horvat on Monday what had changed for Horvat this season, and he said he’s done a strong job finding space, something that most players except Casey Cizikas failed to do in their chances alongside Barzal.

But not all the pressure is on Horvat. Barzal, who signed a long-term extension to be the guy, has to prove that his struggles with consistency this season have been about the lack of high-level talent on his line and not something else.

Barzal did snap a 10-game goal drought last game, so his confidence should be high heading into what could be a move that unleashes Barzal.

Could Horvat be the next captain once Lee’s contract ends in 3 years? (@ynggpod)

For those that didn’t know, Horvat was named captain of the Canucks in 2019, a year after captain Henrik Sedin, along with brother Daniel Sedin, retired.

Anders Lee is on the island for at least another three seasons, and the captaincy isn’t going anywhere. I think you have seen Barzal take more of a leadership role over the last two seasons, despite not wearing an “A”, but that’s the Islanders M.O. Everyone in the room has a voice.

Horvat certainly could get an “A” at some point during his tenure, especially having been a captain before.

What’s plan B if him and Barzal on the same line don’t work? How long do you try it before moving to said plan B? (@newyork_han)

Yeah, this a good question. I’d think if it doesn’t work, Lambert would need to break up the Brock Nelson line and put Kyle Palmieri on the top line.

Then you can move Nelson to the wing and have Horvat as your no. two center.

It honestly depends how bad the line is playing and how good Nelson’s line is going. I think give them five games and see how it’s looking.

This trade makes me want to go to games again. (@bgill89)

And that’s also what this is about, right? UBS Arena is in his second season, and the last thing the organization needs is for this to become a lost season and people stop spending the money to go toward games.

Horvat not only immediately entices fans to show up to get the chance to see a new weapon play, but it tells fans that they aren’t mailing in the season and providing hope. And hope is a dangerous thing, but hope means support, and support means fans in the seats.


An NHL source told NYI Hockey Now late on Monday night that the New York Islanders are currently working hard to finalize an extension with Bo Horvat.

Horvat was one of the top names on the market and helps the Islanders in their most significant area of need, which is offense, but until the New York Islanders make another move, the game plan might not be what it seems. 

While Anthony Beauvillier will miss everyone on this team, this trade does mean he parts ways with his best friend Mathew Barzal.

Following the blockbuster trade, the newest member of the New York Islanders, forward Bo Horvat, addressed the media.