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Islanders News: Bo Horvat to Long Island, Lou Lamoriello will never give up

30 teams miss out on Bo Horvat.

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New York Islanders v Vancouver Canucks
Your futures will briefly intersect again.

The New York Islanders shocked us all — we can safely say that*, right? — by kicking off what was supposed to be a quiet bye week with the headline acquisition of the NHL trade deadline’s top prize.

*I mean, I was reasonably certain Lou was going to mortgage our life savings on something, I just didn’t think he’d get the piece everyone wants.

Top trade deadline target Bo Horvat, a pending UFA having a career year in Vancouver (and who’d be re-signing in Vancouver if only they had shown a wee bit of competence) is now headed to the Islanders, a struggling squad that is outside the playoff race but run by a GM with an infinite belief in his roster and an extraordinary disinclination to keep first-round picks.

The full deal is Horvat for Anthony Beauvilier, Aatu Raty (Goodbye, Aatu-Raty Faust Arp references), and a semi-protected (2023 only) first-round pick, which is terrifying. There is no contract in place with Horvat — no official talks, even {wink wink} — but everyone around the league still trusts Lou so much (He won Cups 20 years ago! He outlaws beards and long hair! In 2023!) that they just sort of assume he must maybe-kinda have an extension figured out.

Beau and Bo

I think my favorite part of this deal is that they found a home for Beauvillier, who was both lovable and confounding. I’ve given up trying to figure out what would make Beau tick again, though I will be thankful for the memories. I will no longer fret over his $4.15 million cap hit or the fact that he can skate like Petr Sykora one moment, then disappear like Peter Regin the next. His career trajectory was a Josh Bailey in the making, except fast-forwarded to the suddenly unproductive Bailey-at-33 stage.

Okay, that’s not right: I guess my true favorite part of this deal is that we’ll get to see Horvat for a while, even if it’s just a Thomas Vanek-while. Horvat likes to shoot and is good on the power play, two things the current 2-goals-and-hope-for-Ilya Islanders desperately need. And you won’t have those “hmmm, but maybe he’s kind of a flake?” feelings you know you had while watching Vanek (please don’t deny it, do not lie).

It seems like a tall ask to think this trade will push the Islanders back to a meaningful playoff seed — or even to the playoffs at all — though they do now have Kyle Palmieri and Adam Pelech back (and who knows, maybe Oliver Wahlstrom will reappear sometime before the end of the season?). But even if it does get the Islanders back into the wild card by season’s end, the nagging question first asked when Lou said he believed in his roster remains: If Lou splurges just to get the Islanders into a first-round meeting with the Bruins...for what cause?

After Fretting, Comes Hope

All that skepticism and anxiety aside, one fact about the trade remains: The Islanders got better. Seriously, Horvat is awesome! And in that talented-AND-gritty kind of way, too.

And in theory, because of Lou soothe-saying magic or culture or whatever, they get Horvat signed long term and thus the Islanders got better for many years. Instead of waiting around for Beauvillier to figure it out or Raty to develop or that 1st-round pick to come along, the Islanders added a legit first-line player. They also also got Horvat instead of whatever J.T. Miller has become, which is nice.

So once you accept that this team and GM will probably never want to “retool” under this regime, then constantly looking for ways to get better today is probably the way to go.

It would just feel a lot better if this “getting better” was moving a playoff team into a contender position, rather than a bubble team into a better bubble position.

Doesn’t sound like a guy expecting to walk next summer, just saying...

First-Round Picks

For the record, Lamoriello’s dealing of first-round picks have returned:

  • J-G Pageau
  • Kyle Palmieri
  • Alex Romanov
  • Bo Horvat

Not too freaking shabby, all told. Three out of four ain’t bad, and Romanov could still improve.

Islanders News

If I dropped 590 words on a Bits intro about the trade, you know there’s plenty more out there. Let’s start close to home:

  • We’ll start with Dan’s instant reaction, which includes video availability from Lou Lamoriello and Bo Horvat (in separate clips). Is it too many centers? Lou notes that centers can always adapt to wing, but not vice versa. Bo notes that he’s “really excited” and has heard “lots of great things” about the organization. [LHH]
  • And being the kick-ass demonetized podcasters that they are, Dan and Mike got right to it with reactions, Islanders Anxiety-style. Mike is psyched; Dan is anxious. Of course Mike finds a way to make a Sebastian Collberg reference. Also: “[Beau] was so good at jumping into the arms of someone else.” [LHH]
  • When you really think about it, maybe it was destiny for Horvat and Cory Schneider to be franchise-mates. [Newsday]
  • The Isles needed a scorer, now they’ve got one. Also, Lou: “We don’t make these type of transactions without that in place. Although it’s not in place, we feel comfortable that we’ll work at getting that done.” Okay then. [Post]
  • “Obviously, a little bit in shock.” [NHL]
  • To re-iterate, Horvat at one point hoped to be a Canuck for life. Now he’s moving to the (Vancouver of the east coast though! Just go with me...) [Sportsnet | Post]
  • Canucks Nation digests things and examines Raty’s goals this season.
  • The freaking best quote of the evening is Patrik Allvin saying “it’s like we got three first-round picks back,” which is just, dude, come on, no. [TSN]
  • Here’s Allvin’s full presser. [YouTube]
  • I love how the Canucks website buries the lead, or at least buries the headline in a sub-head. [Canucks]

The Athletic Declares Things:


Or maybe it’s a win-win for both sides. [TSN]


Yesterday’s NHL score includes the Jets bouncing back to defeat the Blues, who reinforce that they are ready to sell off and start over.

  • Examining the potential trade returns for Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. [TSN]
  • Hot take: The Senators should really try to keep Alex DeBrincat. [Sportsnet]
  • It’s five years since Jaromir Jagr concluded his NHL career with the Flames at age 45. Here are his Flames stories. [Sportsnet]
  • He was not “complicated”: Bobby Hull, great player and pretty shitty family guy, dies at 84. [NHL | Post | Defector]
  • William Nylander is producing at an elite rate in Taranna. [TSN]
  • The list you’ve been waiting for: The analytics all-stars! [Sportsnet]
  • His teammate John Tavares sounds really, really proud of his 1,000th game. That’s just great, man. (Fun fact: The last 1st-overall pick before him to not reach 1,000 games was Ilya Kovalchuk, who went back to Russia and only reached 926.) [Sportsnet]