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Is Horvat On Islanders’ Radar? Canucks Captain Could Be Missing Piece

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New York Islanders

Seventeen games into the season, New York Islanders first-year head coach Lane Lambert hasn’t perfected his forward lines.

Per MoneyPuck, he’s rolled out 13 different line combinations (10-minute minimum). And despite an 11-6-0 record and 3.35 goals per game, another forward might help out.

That missing piece might be waiting in Vancouver, in Canucks captain Bo Horvat.

Despite his team’s ugly 5-9-3 start, Horvat is off to a fiery start with 14 goals and six assists in 17 games. The 27-year-old is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season. And given how it’s going, he’s due for a pay raise from the $5.5 million he is currently making annually.

TSN reported back on Sept. 22 that contract talks between Vancouver and Horvat’s camp were dragging. The belief was that if a deal wasn’t in place by the trade deadline in March, Horvat will be moved.

Flash forward almost two months later, this is the latest. Per CHEK TV’s Rick Dhaliwal, the Canucks don’t have plans to meet with Horvat’s agent as the club heads to Toronto, but the goal is still to extend him. Plus, there’s no sense of a pending trade at this time for Vancouver.

If New York thinks that Horvat can surely help them win hockey games — especially in the playoffs (if applicable) — then now’s the time to use the available cap space and package a few NHL players and prospects to get a deal done.

The Islanders have traded their first-round picks in each of the last four years. Most recently, they moved their 2022 first-rounder (13th overall) for defenseman Alexander Romanov.

Fun fact: As New Jersey Devils general manager, Lou Lamoriello acquired goaltender Cory Schneider from the Canucks in exchange for the ninth overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft. Vancouver went on to select Horvat with that pick. 

A few weeks ago, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that there were Islanders scouts in Vancouver, something to keep an eye on as the season progresses.

So, what would New York need to offer for Horvat?

That depends on if Horvat is signing an extension or not. The hypothetical guess is that if Lamoriello was giving up prospects and picks, he would be signing Horvat to a multi-year extension like we saw when Jean-Gabriel Pageau came over from the Ottawa Senators and immediately signed a six-year extension.

Right now, the Islanders have $13.46 million in deadline cap space, so the need to include an NHL regular in the deal to offload expenses isn’t necessary. But they could clear some space by moving Anthony Beauvillier ($4.15 million) or Josh Bailey ($5 million), as they need to create an everyday roster spot, and these two have struggled.

Nikita Soshnikov was placed on waivers Tuesday, which means New York does have a roster spot available if no one is called up. In theory, players like Beauvillier and Bailey could be healthy scratched by Lambert, with New York having more than Ross Johnston as the extra forward.

But if one can be moved in the trade, that may allow the Islanders to go and potentially add a top-4 defenseman to bolster the backend, despite how Sebastian Aho has played recently.

Let’s start with the prospects that could be included.

Both Aatu Räty and William Dufour hold value in the trade market. Räty, being a two-way center, could be intriguing for Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin, especially when he is trading one. Also, if Vancouver does move Horvat, it likely means they are going into a complete rebuild. And Räty is not a bad piece to help get a turnaround started.

I will add that the Canucks do have their first-round pick, and if they go into full tanking mode for Connor Bedard, he is a centerman, so they may instead want a winger prospect.

Dufour is unknown at this point in his young career. Given how dominant he was in the QMJHL, winning MVP and the Memorial Cup with the St. John Sea Dogs, his value might never be as high again.

As the infamous saying goes: “Buy low, sell high.”

Both could be a piece to the trade puzzle alongside Beauvillier and Bailey. Of course, New York would need to throw in a few draft picks.

If the Canucks take the final year of Bailey’s contract, throwing in a first to get that done makes sense. If not, a second and a third-rounder could suffice.

Now, Vancouver may not want two forwards in a deal and may want to bring in defensive prospects. The Islanders have a few in Samuel Bolduc, Calle Odelius, and Isaiah George that may entice them. New York does not have any untouchable prospects, especially when they are in win-now mode.

George was a standout during development camp, so if the Islanders could hold onto him, that would be ideal.

This is an example of what a potential deal for Horvat could look like:

To Canucks: Josh Bailey, William Dufour, 2023 1st, 2023 4th

To Islanders: Bo Horvat

New York needs a forward, and Horvat’s game would complement the structured game of the Islanders. With Horvat being a center, someone would need to move to the wing. We have seen Mathew Barzal play wing this season late in games and in practice, and Brock Nelson has also played wing before.

Having too many centers is not a problem, and adding a player like Horvat at 27 (not a player like Nazem Kadri at 31) makes the move logical.

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Bats

Getting Horvat would be great, move Nelson to the wing and dump Bailey and Beau. Works for me.

Barry

Considering Vancouver has less then a million dollars of cap space, they wouldn’t want Bailey. It would only give them a net gain of 500,000 in cap space. They would more likely absorb some of the contract from Hovat in a trade for a bigger net gain.

Chulookin

Not happening guys. Horvat to Anaheim for picks…lol just kiddin he comes to Washington Capitols for lame picks n players

RoFa

Did you read what you wrote? I suggest you do that before hitting sent.

me

You’re including a cap dump (Bailey) in a deal for Horvat?
You’re not at a junk yard trading spare parts….
Despite what media in the east may know about his play (very likely not much) – he is a legit star player who comes up big when you need it most.
There aren’t a lot of players already in his sphere that could put their head down and perform the way he is right now, considering the state of the team around him.
…. Bailey….. lmao……

Forward Thinker

I do not see the proposed return getting it done. There would need to be a RHD ready to play in the top four in any trade for Horvat.

Corey

I reached out to you on Twitter to pose this question this morning. Really good piece, really well written with a lot of good information. Always wish there was more NHL content / Islander content out there.

I just think personally no shot they take Bailey’s contract.

I’d imagine for Horvat its defensive prospect, 1st rounder, NHL player.

I think Beau, Bolduc, and 1st is more likely.

If they would take Bailey and send us Bo I would make that trade right now regardless of an extension

Tjay

Wasn’t it you who tweeted a few weeks ago Josh Bailey’s number should be retired by the team and that it wasn’t even debatable? Now you’re trading him away?

Macky

I know we’re in win now mode, but I wouldn’t give up any major future pieces. Raty, Dufore, Bolduc to name a few are off the table if we’re talking Horvat. I feel like we can get a good scoring rental cheaper or go with the guys we have.

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