The New York Islanders have pulled off one of its largest trades in years, acquiring Vancouver Canucks star Bo Horvat for Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu Raty, and a conditional first-round draft pick, the team announced Monday night.
Horvat is in the midst of a career season, posting 31 goals — which already tied a career-high — with 23 assists in just 49 games with the dysfunctional Canucks.
The 27-year-old center will provide the immensely needed promise of an offensive spark for an Islanders team that is starving for consistent offensive production. As a team, they have scored two or fewer goals 12 times in their last 13 games before the All-Star break with their leading goal scorers in Brock Nelson and Anders Lee tied with 19 goals apiece.
The Islanders have just six skaters with double-digit goal totals through 52 games this season.
It’s a considerable price to pay for Horvat, who is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2022-23 season. However, general manager Lou Lamoriello and his veteran Islanders team that made two consecutive Stanley Cup semifinals three and two years ago understand that their window of contention was rapidly decreasing.
While they won two straight games before the break to restore some confidence, New York had lost six straight and 10 of 11 to fall out of an Eastern Conference playoff spot. They currently sit two points back of the Pittsburgh Penguins for the last Wild Card spot.
The trade brings an end to Beauvillier’s six-plus season run with the Islanders. The 25-year-old often carried the promise of developing into a 25-plus-goal scorer and a consistent middle-six wing option, but streaky play often hampered his production. He scored just 12 goals in 75 games last season and has nine with 11 assists so far in 2022-23.
Raty was considered the Islanders’ top prospect and even made his NHL debut this season. The 20-year-old posted two goals in 12 games while often centering the fourth line — which wasn’t necessarily conducive to his skillset as he projects to become a solid top-six forward in the league.
It remains to be seen how Horvat will be instituted within the Islanders’ lineup. Their center depth is considered their strongest offensive asset with Mathew Barzal, Brock Nelson, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, and Casey Cizikas bolstering the ranks.
Cizikas has recently been playing on Barzal’s right wing, though, as head coach Lane Lambert had been forced to shuffle lineups due to the struggling offense.