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Bo Horvat Trade the First Domino

horvat trade

With the Bo Horvat trade to Long Island complete, other moves are ready to go. From the Vancouver Canucks perspective, anyway. If they can get a couple trade partners lined up, then wholesale changes can come in rapid succession.

Bo Horvat Swapped for Needed Pieces

Vancouver is a team that needs everything. Moving Bo Horvat helped them with a couple of those needs, but didn’t solve everything. That being said, there may be more here than is obvious.

The demand for Horvat was a classic 3-P: a pick, a prospect, and a player.

The Pick

It gets just a little confusing when teams add clauses to their traded picks. The protection for this first-rounder is over the first 12 spots. That’s after the lottery, so even the 13th-16th still won’t be available if the Islanders get lucky.

So Vancouver isn’t getting a top-12 pick from the Islanders this year. Given how deep the draft is, that’s still fine. Anywhere higher than 40 is a nice addition that your scouts with thank you for.

The Bo Horvat trade might have gotten a higher pick, but it’s hard to imagine how. Teams lower in the standings don’t want a rental; teams higher don’t have good draft positions.

It’s even fine if the Islanders stumble down league standings a bit. The 2024 draft is getting good reviews at this distance, and there’s another Vancouver-born player making noise there. The supposedly worst-case scenario still has the Canucks getting a first-round pick. Use it or move it, that’s one more than they had before.

The Prospect

Despite general manager Patrik Allvin claiming to have gotten “three first-round picks” for Horvat, Aatu Raty ä actually went 52nd in his draft year. He was rated far higher than that leading up to the 2020-21 season but stumbled badly. It was still a surprise just how far he slipped.

A move from Kärpät to Jukurit Mikkeli got his scoring game back, though, and he recovered well enough to come to North America. He’s mostly been in AHL Bridgeport since and will start in Abbotsford for the Canucks. There is a bit of a question if centre is his best position, but that’s where the Canucks need him. At least one more year in the AHL is probably the best move for him – and Vancouver.

Will he get back to the heights of his old “possible first overall” potential? Almost certainly not. But that won’t stop him from developing into a solid middle-six centre.  One who is, most importantly, cost controlled for another three years.

The Player

Anthony Beauvillier, unlike Räty, jumped straight from the QMJHL to the NHL. He’s from the excellent draft of 2015, joining Canucks Brock Boeser, Conor Garland, Travis Dermott, and Ethan Bear.* That number may drop soon.
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Beuvillier has yet to break the 40-point mark in any given season but has been on pace for it a few times. He’s going to have opportunities in Vancouver he might not have with the more conservative play on Long Island. His shooting percentage has dropped into single digits over the past two seasons but can recover.

Scoring depth will be a great thing for the Canucks, but Beauvillier also adds some speed and versatility. He’s used on both special teams and could well find an easier fit than Boeser or Garland. Anyone with a pulse and who knows what end of a stick to grab might help Vancouver’s atrocious penalty kill.

The Side Effect

There is a fourth advantage that the Bo Horvat trade got for Vancouver, though it’s not as noticeable. While it’s not exactly cap space, given the salary retention and Beauvillier’s $4.15 million hit, it also is.

The salary retention on Horvat’s contract only lasts until season’s end. That can allow greater savings in one of two ways: trade with retention or buyouts. If, for instance, Brock Boeser were put on the market as a $5 million player, he becomes that much more tempting.

Moving either Boeser or Conor Garland – or both – gives the team room to bring Nils Höglander and Vasily Podkolzin back from the AHL. That’s room both financially and spatially. And by trading them this season, if possible, Vancouver might finally get out of their long-term injured reserve. If they can, they won’t have to pay a salary cap penalty in 2022-23.

And maybe, just maybe, it could make sense to buy out Oliver Ekman-Larsson.


*And occasional Canucks Noah Juulsen and Guillaume Brisebois. Good grief!


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