The First NHL Blockbuster Trade Has Happened! Bo Horvat is Headed to the Islanders

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The First NHL Blockbuster Trade Has Happened! Bo Horvat is Headed to the Islanders

Chicago Blackhawks

We all sit around throwing hypothetical trade scenarios at the wall for weeks and then BOOM! the first blockbuster trade of the NHL season hits us like a brick out of left field on a Monday evening less than one week before the All-Star Game.

Check out this mammoth deal for Bo Horvat that was just announced by the Canucks and Islanders:

Holy cow!

According to the Islanders’ release, Horvat skated with current Islanders Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Ryan Pulock on Hockey Canada’s team at the World Championship in 2018. He was the Canucks’ captain and will represent them, awkwardly, in this weekend’s All-Star Game. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Based on the return, one has to think the Islanders will make a strong play to extend him.

Beauvillier, 25, was the Islanders’ first-round pick (No. 28 overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft. He has scored 102 goals with 107 assists in 457 regular-season games for the Islanders since cracking the NHL lineup in 2016-17. He has 20 points in 49 games this season. He has one more year of control on this contract with a $4.15 million cap hit.

Raty, 20, was the Islanders’ top prospect. He was originally drafted by the Islanders in the second round of the 2020 NHL Draft. He has two more years of control on his entry-level contract and has appeared in 12 NHL games to date.

According to Elliotte Friedman, the first-round pick is top-12 protected.

Blackhawks Value(s) Up?

Horvat was the top trade chip on this year’s market. The 27-year-old center is having a career year — his 31 goals are already tied for the best of his career — and is in the final year of a contract that carries a $5.5 million cap hit. He’s a star, and the Islanders clearly — desperately — needed to add offense. This is a game-changer for them… if he re-signs. Lou Lamoriello made the dramatic move he needed to in the final year of his deal.

If this feels like a heavy package for an elite center, it is. But there isn’t a top-tier prospect or NHL roster player moving. And the pick is top-12 protected (per Friedman). But here’s the real: Beauvillier is a nice player but he’s overpaid for a guy who has never scored more than 18 goals in an NHL season.

Raty is a nice prospect, but not great. When The Athletic ranked the top NHL players and prospects under the age of 23, Raty was ranked 96th (behind a few other Islanders’ prospects). For the sake of comparison, Kevin Korchinski was ranked 30th overall. Lukas Reichel was ranked 55th overall. Frank Nazar was immediately following Raty at 97.

So the return to Vancouver is pretty good here, especially from an Islanders team that needs to do a lot to get into the playoffs. But not overwhelming.

What does this mean for the Blackhawks?

Well, first of all, the Islanders aren’t out of the trade waters by any means. According to CapFriendly (which already has the trade reflected on the respective rosters), the Isles still have roughly $9 million in deadline cap space to play with. If Lamoriello is really desperate, and he’s wanted Patrick Kane for years… yeah, not happening without a first-rounder this year. Their prospect pool is weak sauce.

But this more directly means one of the top potential center targets that had been circled by other teams wanted to add down the middle — Carolina, the New York Rangers, Colorado, Seattle — can no longer chase Horvat. He’s off the market.

Jonathan ToewsMax Domi… your tables are ready!

And, now, the top chip at the dot is off the board. So the teams begging for a center have fewer options.

Of course Toews still controls the situation with his full no-move clause, but Domi could go at any time. And, with an expiring $3 million cap hit, he might be the perfect, lower-cost rental for a team looking to get better in the circle.


Author: Tab Bamford

Tab is the Lead Blackhawks voice for BN. He is the author of two books about the Blackhawks, most recently "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter at @The1Tab