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Blockbuster Breakdown: Horvat to the Island

Horvat
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When the Vancouver Canucks entered the 22-23 NHL season, there was this underdog mentality rushing through the locker room. Superstars like Elias Petterson, J.T. Miller, Quinn Hughes, and Thatcher Demko were all prepared to go out and make a statement. They looked to one player, their captain Bo Horvat, for leadership. Midway through the season, their captain has finally left the building.

Horvat was traded to the New York Islanders, a statement move by the Canucks to finally let the pieces of the core go. In return, Vancouver received Anthony Beauvillier, Autu Raty, and a first-round pick that is top 12 protected. Both sides gained a reasonable amount, but was it all worth it? Breaking down this blockbuster will be substantial in understanding both teams’ interior motives in making this deal. So, without further ado, let us begin.

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New York Islanders: Help On Offense

And we will start by talking about the New York Islanders. They are currently 25-22-5 through 52 games played. They are two spots out of the last wild card spot, but the Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins have three games in hand. This season has not gone the Islanders’ way; as every night, goaltender Ilya Sorokin has been keeping them in games. Horvat has scored 54 points in 49 games and has played a solid two-way game all season. He has won 56 percent of faceoffs this season and proven he is good at creating space in both ends with 22 high-danger shot attempts. If he can help support the superstar goaltender and shift the team’s momentum, then this trade will work wonders. He should make an immediate impact on defense and offense, and the Islanders are going to need it.

The Islanders have struggled immensely in generating scoring and offensive pressure. It feels like Horvat is the piece they were missing, with a powerplay that sits 31st in the league with a 15.5 percent success rate. Their shooting has also been down, with the team shooting 48.97 percent of the time in the offensive zone. Horvat is a player who is not afraid to take a shot or risk, which is something the Islanders desperately need.

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Vancouver Canucks: An Era Of What-Ifs 

While the Islanders begin to bolster up a core for a potential playoff run, the Canucks are casually drifting into the abyss. This team is suffering an identity crisis, and they are brushing the mess aside instead of addressing it. Horvat was drafted 9th overall in the 2013 draft and was meant to be the centerpiece that the Canucks would build around.

Almost ten years later, it is like nothing has changed with the organization. The team has made the playoffs twice with Horvat and have only won one playoff series. This team has been mediocre at best, failing to provide any defensive or offensive structure. With Horvat gone, this team is back to square one and has continued to go in circles. It is an era wasted, with nothing but hypotheticals and what-ifs to this core.

But there is some light at the end of the tunnel for ‘Nucks fans. They acquired forward Beauvillier, center prospect Raty, and a top-12 protected first-round pick. If the Islanders draft between 1-12, the first will be a 2024 first-round pick. Beauvillier has scored 20 points in 49 games and has made some ugly mistakes on defense that are fixable. Raty, a former-second round pick, has been solid in the AHL, scoring 15 points in 27 games. If he can develop, the Canucks future might be bright after all.

Deal Digesting

After every blockbuster, fans try to declare a winner prior to a player even stepping on the ice. There are no winners as of right now, but we will digest how both teams must handle the future with this trade.

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The Islanders need to make the playoffs or resign Horvat to a long-term deal and build a team around him and Mathew Barzal. If they can fit Horvat into their scheme, then this is a slam dunk of a trade. If they miss the playoffs, and Horvat leaves, then expect them to have massive regrets over this gamble.

The Canucks need to hit big with that first-round pick and develop Raty correctly for them to compete down the road. If they can move pieces around and allow Beauvillier and Raty to be a part of their future, this will be seen as a transitional trade for the organization.


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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

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Twitter: @PTSTNews and @TalkPrimeTime
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