Now everyone that had no idea where Canucks captain Bo Horvat was being traded will have their own personal prognostication on how things will work out. To some extent it’s kind of what makes following a team fun for fans and the “experts”.
Within moments of one another, after the trade was announced, I received one text that said, “What’s Lou Lamoriello thinking?!” in reference to the New York Islanders general manager. At almost the same time I received another text that said “Horvat traded to the Isles, what a steal for the Isles!”.
Note that both must be somewhat pessimistic, understandable to a degree, with an Isles fan writing that first note, and a Canucks afficionado writing the second one.
Horvat was swapped to the Isles on Monday for 25-year-old, left wing Anthony Beauvillier, 20-year-old prospect centre Aatu Raty, who already has two goals in 12 NHL games, and a conditional 1st-round draft pick this summer.
The pick gets deferred if it’s in the top-twelve selections in 2023. Not likely to happen; definitely won’t happen if the Isles make the playoffs. It’s likely the Canucks will be making the pick.
For straight up offence and all around talent for now, the Islanders clearly win the deal. Horvat can help them make the postseason as he continues along in what will be a career year, barring injury, in both goals and points. He’s also a dominate centre in the face-off circle.
Beauvillier is a winger who had a career high 21 goals in 2017-’18 and a career high 39 points two seasons later.
Culturally, there are no other French Canadians on the active Canucks roster with whom to bond and speak Quebecois.
If the immediate drop in overall roster calibre hurts Vancouver’s chances at winning games this season, they’re not going to be too upset. The worse they finish, the better the likely draft pick. There should be more changes on the way between now and NHL Trade Deadline on March 3rd to help that cause.
Although there are no tangible, realistic comparisons that can be made with different players playing in different eras, there are coincidences with the Horvat deal and that of Trevor Linden back in 1998. The Canucks traded their captain to the Islanders in February of that year for hulking forward Todd Bertuzzi, D-man Bryan McCabe, and a 3rd-round pick in that summer’s draft.
Bertuzzi went on to play seven more seasons in Vancouver, enjoying fame with Brendan Morrison and Markus Naslund on the West Coast Express line along the way. McCabe finished the season after the trade with Bertuzzi and played one more full campaign in Vancouver before being shipped out.
Linden played out the season and one more on Long Island, went to Montreal and Washington before returning to Vancouver and finishing out his career with the Canucks from November of 2001 through the 2007-’08 season. His has one of six retired Canucks jerseys that hang in the rafters at Rogers Arena.