Canucks trade captain Bo Horvat to Islanders in blockbuster multi-player deal

The rebuild of the Vancouver Canucks has begun, with centre Bo Horvat heading to the New York Islanders. The Canucks announced Monday that their captain is heading east in exchange for forwards Anthony Beauvillier and Aatu Raty and a protected 2023 first-round draft pick.

Vancouver receives Beauvillier, Raty, protected 1st-round pick for pending free agent

Vancouver Canucks' Bo Horvat looks to his left as he prepares to take a faceoff during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Vancouver Canucks' Bo Horvat prepares to take a faceoff during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Columbus Blue Jackets in Vancouver on Friday. The Canucks have traded Horvat to the New York Islanders. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

For the last two months the Vancouver Canucks had been shopping Bo Horvat to other NHL teams but as late as last Tuesday management spoke with his agent about a deal to keep the nine-year veteran.

When those talks didn't produce a deal, and with their playoff hopes all but faded away, the Canucks made the decision Monday to trade their captain and the team's leading goal scorer to the New York Islanders in exchange for forwards Anthony Beauvillier and Aatu Raty, plus a protected 2023 first-round draft pick.

"From our side, we never closed any doors," Vancouver general manager Patrik Allvin told a hastily called news conference.

"I think the timing was right. We were happy with the return. I think it was a good hockey trade for both teams."

Horvat's contact situation has been a hot topic in Vancouver. The 27-year-old was earning $5.5 million US in the final year of his current deal. He was enjoying a career-year by leading the Canucks with 31 goals and was second in scoring with 54 points in 49 games.

"It wasn't easy, with everything that went on," Horvat told reporters in New York about the pressure he had been feeling. "The unknown and my family's unknown. It's going to be a fresh start."

The Horvat trade could be the first domino to fall for the struggling Canucks. The deal comes eight days after head coach Bruce Boudreau was fired and replaced with Rick Tocchet.

The Canucks enter the NHL all-star break in sixth place in the Pacific Division with a 20-26-3 record.

With the Canucks in danger of missing the playoffs for the sixth time in the last seven years, Allvin indicated more deals are possible before the March 3 trade deadline.

"We're definitely sitting in the standings in the bottom, so we need to improve our team," he said. "As we said when we got here [we're] trying to get younger.

"We've got five weeks to the trading deadline, so I would assume that more calls will come along here."

Vancouver Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet, from left to right, general manager Patrik Allvin and president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford at a news conference.
Vancouver Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet, from left to right, general manager Patrik Allvin and president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford attend a news conference after the NHL hockey team announced Tocchet's hiring, in Vancouver, on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Beauvillier, selected by the Islanders in the first round (28th overall) in the 2015 draft, has nine goals and 11 assists in 49 games this season. He has 102 goals and 107 assists in 457 career games.

Raty, picked by New York in the second round (52nd overall) in 2021, has two goals in 12 games with the Islanders. He also has seven goals and eight assists in 27 games with the American Hockey League's Bridgeport Islanders.

"I think it was important for us to get a first-round pick back," said Allvin. "We got a young prospect in Aatu Raty, and we're getting a 25-year-old player in Anthony Beauvillier that has been playing pretty consistent for the New York Islanders over the last couple of years.

"I like the details he plays with, his tenacity, his puck hunting. I think he will fit in well here in our top six group on the left side."

'We're really excited with what we got back'

Under the deal, the Canucks are retaining 25 per cent of Horvat's cap hit.

The condition on the draft pick is that if it's a top-12 pick, the Canucks don't get it until 2024.

Allvin was asked if Vancouver received enough for Horvat.

"I think the market dictates what the players are worth," he said. "In this case we're really excited with what we got back."

Horvat had been a Canuck since Vancouver selected the London, Ont., native ninth overall in the 2013 NHL entry draft. He was named Vancouver's captain in 2019 and was set to represent the Canucks at the upcoming NHL all-star weekend in Sunrise, Fla.

In 621 games he has 201 goals and 219 assists.

Horvat's future in Vancouver looked to be sealed when the Canucks signed 29-year-old J.T. Miller to a seven-year, $US56-million contract in September. It seemed unlikely the Canucks could afford two players earning more than US$7 million a year.

"We were definitely hoping that there was a deal to be made with Bo here," said Allvin. "We certainly wanted to keep him here.

Vancouver Canucks forward Bo Horvat on the podium responds to questions during a news conference ahead of the NHL hockey team's training camp.
Vancouver Canucks forward Bo Horvat responds to questions during a news conference ahead of the NHL hockey team's training camp, in Vancouver, B.C., Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

"But when we made our offer and were understanding that might not be the case, my job is to check around the league and talk to teams and see if they have any interest and if there is a potential return."

Horvat will join an Islanders team in the midst of a dogfight for a playoff position in the Eastern Conference. The Islanders sit fourth in the conference's wild-card standings, two points behind second-place Pittsburgh, with a 25-22-5 record.

"He brings a two-way game," he said. "Over the past several years [he has been] a 30 to 35 goal scorer. I think that's going to add a need for us.

"You make this type of transaction because you can improve your team today and tomorrow. In my opinion he makes us a better team and gives us a better opportunity to get where we want to go."

Gurp Sian, an analyst with Hockey Night in Punjabi, says Horvat is a popular figure in the city, bringing to mind former captain Trevor Linden, who was traded to the Islanders in 1998 after relinquishing the captaincy to Mark Messier.

"It's tough but it's a move that probably needed to happen," he said of Monday's trade, noting that negotiations between Horvat and the Canucks appeared to be at an impasse. 

Sian says he doesn't expect the team will announce a new captain this season, but there are some young candidates who could eventually take the leadership reins. 

"I think some of the younger players on this team who have already become the leaders – Elias Pettersson is one of them, even a guy like Quinn Hughes – you're going to see some of these younger players step into that leadership role over the years," he said.

The newest Canucks will be made available to reporters on Tuesday morning via a Zoom call.


Jim has written about sports in Canada for more than 40 years for The Canadian Press, CBC Sports, CFL.ca and Swimming Canada. He has covered eight Olympic Games and three Paralympics. He was there the night the Edmonton Oilers won their first Stanley Cup and has covered 12 Grey Cups.

With files from Jon Azpiri of CBC News Vancouver

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