Can the New York Islanders Make a Playoff Push After the Bo Horvat Trade?

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In a move that came completely out of nowhere on an otherwise quiet Monday afternoon, the New York Islanders pulled off the first big swap of the 2022-23 season. They acquired former Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat in exchange for forwards Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu Raty, and a conditional 2023 first round draft pick. The condition on the pick is that it is top-12 protected.

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Yankee Stadium - NY Yankees

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Citi Field - NY Mets

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Madison Square Garden - NY Rangers

UBS Arena – NY Islanders

UBS Arena - NY Islanders

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Madison Square Garden - NY Knicks

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Barclays Center - Brooklyn Nets

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MetLife Stadium - NY Jets

As per usual, the Islanders’ cards are kept extremely hidden until they are played. Lou Lamoriello has a history of keeping his organization tight lipped and not announcing moves or intentions until the move actually happens. Which is where the surprise comes from, it was not really expected that the Islanders would be a major player in on Horvat. They usually aren’t in on any big names.

The Bo Horvat trade opens up a big question for each team, starting with the Islanders.

Will the Bo Horvat Trade Help the Islanders Make a Playoff Push?

Overall, it seems to be a weird move for the New York Islanders. Giving up a solid roster player, one of their top prospects, and another first round pick for a rental in a season they don’t appear to be serious contenders. After 52 games, they sit in the second runner-up position to a playoff spot. Though they’re only two points back, the teams ahead mostly have games in hand, making the gap more difficult to overcome.

Of teams around the Islanders in the standings, New York has one of the worst offenses. So adding Horvat, who currently sits tied for eighth in goals this season, should help give them a boost, even if it is just a goal every other game. Maybe he can help them get back to the level of scoring output they had earlier in the season. But that does not seem like it will be enough to make a significant difference on this team’s playoff chances.

Despite Horvat being one of the most potent offensive players this season, his defensive impact is not great. But a projected pairing with Mathew Barzal on the Islanders’ top line will be a dynamic force to be reckoned with that would hopefully negate that.

Looking at the standings, the Islanders are going to need a major hot streak in order to make the playoffs. And Horvat adding an extra goal or two a week isn’t likely to change the course of the Islanders’ season significantly. For a rental in a situation like that, this seems like an overpayment. But if the intention is to sign Horvat long-term, the price seems reasonable.

Did the Vancouver Canucks Hit the Mark in the Bo Horvat Trade?

After giving J.T. Miller a massive contract last offseason, the message delivered was clear. They chose him over their captain, Bo Horvat. From that point on, it became obvious that the captain would be on his way out as the Vancouver Canucks would be unable to afford to keep him with their cap situation.

Sure enough, they could not and after the Bo Horvat trade, he is no longer a Canuck. After being stuck in limbo and very public trade rumours for months. Sort of how things went for a former coach of the Canucks too.

Regardless of how the organization treats those it employs, the trade return for Horvat is not overly impressive, especially at 25% retained on Horvat for the rest of the season.

The Return

Beauvillier is a very talented player, at times, but seems to max out around a 40-point pace, likely a second-liner on most teams. He may get a bigger opportunity on the Canucks with their weaker roster and the potential for someone like Brock Boeser to get traded yet as well.

Raty is an intriguing prospect, but a bit of a high risk player to acquire. His draft stock fell significantly as his development seemed to plateau. However, after his draft year he has taken off again, making his NHL debut as well. Although he only has two goals in 12 games with the NHL’s Islanders, he does have 15 points in 27 games in the AHL. If he can continue on this trajectory for his career, he may end up being the centrepiece of this trade years down the line.

Then they get what will likely be a mid-first round draft pick to top it all off. An important piece for the team that really should be rebuilding by now.

For a rental, getting 30 games out of the player, the Canucks seemed to make out fine, though no piece of the return stands out. Beauvillier fits the mould of random mid-line forward the team brings in to fix everything. Raty is a high risk prospect with a high ceiling. And a mid-late first rounder which, for a team with the Canucks’ draft history, is unlikely to turn into anything.

There you have it. The Islanders get a prolific scorer, a locker room leader, and fan favourite. Though a playoff push this season seems unlikely, New York could always flip him again at the deadline or sign him long term to build up for more serious contention another season. The Canucks get an okay, albeit risky, return for a rental. But made a questionable choice in managing their locker room in the meantime.

Who do you think won the Bo Horvat trade? Drop a comment down below!

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Sean is a lifelong, stubborn Oilers fan who somehow still has hope that next season will be the year. Hockey is his biggest interest and hobby, so he follows the whole league as closely as he can.