Ahead of his first actual NHL game in an Islanders uniform, center Bo Horvat has signed an eight-year extension with the club, putting to rest at least one of the questions that arose when he was acquired via trade less than a week ago.
The Islanders announced the signing Sunday afternoon right around the time Horvat took the ice with his new teammates at a practice in Philadelphia. The Islanders play the Flyers on Monday. The 27-year-old center has 31 goals and 23 assists in 49 games with Vancouver this season, his ninth in the NHL. He just played in his second All Star Game, suiting up for the Pacific Division team but with an Islanders logo on the jersey (Collector’s Item Alert)
Elliotte Friedman was among the first to announce the actual numbers. Horvat will have an $8.5 million average annual value against the Islanders salary cap starting next season.
Horvat AAV is $8.5M— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) February 5, 2023
Update: Frank Seravalli has more details regarding movement protection and a signing bonus. Horvat has some of the former and none of the latter:
Both Horvat and Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello already had press availabilities after the signing. Lamoriello said that Horvat and his reps sought him out first thing this morning with the intention of hammering a deal out.
(at the 1:12 mark, you can hear Lou make a joke that was quickly denounced around Twitter, a place that used to be the home of all kinds of offbeat humor but is now a festering sphincter populated by only people looking to angry about absolutely anything all the time.)
The center sounded very happy to have this bit of business out of the way and to have a place where he can settle with his family. As we know, the schools of Long Island have a particular pull for athletes and are damn near undefeated in terms of getting them to stay with the Islanders. Not sure how Horvat got the school tour on a Sunday when he was 200 miles away in Philly, but we’ll have to find that out later.
#Isles Bo Horvat on extension:— Stefen Rosner (@stefen_rosner) February 5, 2023
"My wife and I talked about this place a lot. Honestly, it was probably in my top five right from the beginning [...] I don't know the area too, too well, but I can't wait to get to know it for eight years."
The Islanders currently sit two points out of the final playoff berth in the East. There’s a lot of work to do if they want to salvage this season and make the post-season and possibly go on a run. I don’t think anyone disagrees that the odds are decidedly against them.
But this is the second eight-year extension they’ve signed this season. Mathew Barzal - who skated on Horvat’s wing today in practice - re-signed before the season even started, making a commitment to the team that drafted him. Horvat said after he was dealt that he expected to be a “Canuck for life” and was willing to sign an extension. The Canucks weren’t interested in meeting his price and dealt him to Long Island. Every player is different and looking for different things when they sign, but these two, along with Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, Adam Pelech, Ryan Pulock and others clearly are happy playing on the Island.
(the next big name to get signed will be Ilya Sorokin, but that’s a problem for another day)
The hue and cry about how terrible this all is is strong on social media, as it is whenever the Islanders do or don’t do anything. But in the end, they have Bo Horvat - top line center, All Star, family dude - for the longterm now. That’s pretty cool.