The Vancouver Canucks did it.

They traded their biggest trade chip, Bo Horvat. Horvat is heading to the New York Islanders. What comes to Vancouver is winger Anthony Beauvillier, prospect Aatu Räty and a protected first-round pick.

The conditions of the first-round pick were announced by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

So after weeks and months of speculation, the Canucks captain is heading to Long Island. He is the second Canuck captain to be traded to the Islanders. The first? Trevor Linden in 1998.

Another wild thing is that Lou Lamoriello was the one who traded the ninth overall pick to the Canucks in exchange for Cory Schneider. Vancouver used that pick on Bo Horvat. Who is the current general manager of the Islanders? Lou Lamoriello. Oh, and Schneider is on the Islanders AHL team, the Bridgeport Islanders. It all came full circle.

It’s been a wild season for the Canucks and the craziness didn’t stop during the All-Star break.

Initial thoughts

It was reported that the Canucks wanted three things in a Horvat deal: A prospect, a roster player and a draft pick. That’s what they got.

It’s not a haul that Canucks fans would’ve wanted and it felt like the return would be something like they received today.

It’s not a horrible return but it is not a great return. But is it a good return? Sure.

The Canucks need a right-handed defenceman and didn’t get one. On the Islanders, they don’t much to offer and their prospect pool is among the worst in the NHL. With Horvat gone, centre is now a big position of need.

This also shows that the Canucks are committed to their rebuild…er…retool. They know the season is lost and Horvat could be the first of a fire sale. The next best trade candidate to be moved is Luke Schenn.

Lamoreillo also revealed that the Canucks have retained 25% of Horvat’s salary meaning 4.15 million dollars in cap space is coming back to Vancouver It is only until the end of the season but I don’t think retaining was necessary. Plus, if they were retaining, they probably could have gotten more.

The Islanders Point of View

For the Islanders, this is kind of a weird one but it shows they plan to go on a playoff run. As mentioned, they are a few points below the playoff line but aren’t a Stanley Cup contender of course.

The Isles have not drafted in the first round since 2019. In the Horvat deal, they sent their best prospect.

Mat Barzal is a good player but he can’t do it all. Behind him at centre, Horvat provides a boost in a team that has Brock Nelson who is pretty good. There is also Jean-Gabriel Pagaeu and Casey Cizikas who is a fine player but is overpaid. Heck, they could even move Barzal on the wing and put him with Horvat on a line together. (I prefer Barzal at centre FYI and Horvat is not a first liner)

The Islanders are 21st in goal scoring this season and Horvat has 31 in 49 games this season. But you are asking can the Islanders re-sign him? They only have a projected cap space of 2.03 million dollars right now.

Players who are pending UFAs for New York are Semyon Varlamov, (5 million dollar AAV) Zach Parise ($750,000 AAV) and Scott Mayfield (1.8 million dollar AAV) along with Horvat. Oliver Wahlstrom is also a pending RFA.

It’s possible that they can re-sign Horvat but we all know that he’ll want a huge raise from his 5.5 million dollar cap hit. It will probably be around the eight million mark or even higher, especially if Horvat continues his goal-scoring pace.

New York gave up the typical rental package and it would look very bad on them if Horvat walks in free agency. But it could be great for them if Horvat helps them go on a run and re-signs and has a few more good years left in them but that is a big “if.”

The Islanders are risking quite a bit on Horvat and I’m not too sure if they were the right team to acquire him especially if you think long-term. He fills a need but isn’t a long-term one.

They aren’t a contender and aren’t in a position to make deals like this and give big extensions to players who are in their late 20s. It will look terrible in a few years when Horvat is making a huge amount of money and is on the decline. It feels like the Islanders need a…retool because like the Canucks, they are stuck in the middle and adding Horvat is just digging deeper not climbing out of the hole 

Then again, I have not watched or followed the Islanders that closely and someone who has could probably explain things better.

The pick

Let’s talk about the first-round pick. That pick is an important part of the deal and could potentially make it better.

Why? As mentioned, it is top 12 protected. The Islanders are two points out of the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. There is a chance (not guaranteed) that they could stay in the position they are now. If they end up in the 13-15 range, that would be huge for the Canucks. A pick in that range is basically a top-ten pick in this year’s draft. That would make the trade even better.

Of course, there is a chance that the Horvat could help the Islanders make the playoffs and they win a round or two and they pick in the 20-25 range. That’s not a bad thing at all and you could potentially find a gem but you would rather have a top-15 pick, right?

Then there is the possibility of the Islanders not making the playoffs and finishing in the top 12. As a result, the pick moves to 2024. That isn’t bad, especially since it is also a possibility that the Islanders could be bad in the 2023-24 season. The Canucks aren’t going to be competing next season either so it’s possible that they could have two high picks in 2024.

In a few years when we evaluate this trade, where the pick lands is going to be a big part of the evaluation.

What the Canucks are getting in Anthony Beauvillier

Anthony Beauvillier is pretty much a third-liner. He can play both right-wing and left-wing. The 25-year-old’s career high in points is 39 which he got in the 2019-20 season. (It could have been more if not for the COVID-19 pandemic)

Beauvillier brings speed and a bit of skill but he is what they call a streaky player. Consistency has something he has struggled with. He is hot one minute and cold the next.

It also seems that he likes to score his goals on the rush.

What I remember best about Beauvillier is that he always seemed to score in the playoffs with the Islanders. Well, that’s not happening in Vancouver.

This goal in game six of the 2021 Eastern Conference Final was the biggest goal of his career.

It seems his play has dipped over the last couple of seasons and perhaps a fresh start is what he needs.

Beauvillier also carries a 4.1 million dollar cap hit that expires in 2024. Ideally, he would be a trade chip but his cap hit isn’t very appetizing.

However, the Canucks could put him with Elias Pettersson and try to pump up his numbers. Again, it looks like they will be a bad team next season so they could use Beauvillier as another trade chip for assets.

What the Canucks are getting in Aatu Räty

Aatu Räty has a lot of potential. In fact, he was projected to go in the first round in 2021 but fell to 52nd overall.

Apparently, Räty’s name is not pronounced: “Ra-tee.” It is pronounced like “Ah-tu Ra-tu.” So if you are confused by his name’s pronunciation, just remember it rhymes with R2-D2.

Räty becomes the Canucks top prospect after the trade. Good for Räty, but not so much for the Canucks.

So is Räty good? Let’s have Cam Robinson of Elite Prospects answer that question because he knows more about prospects than me.

Yeah, that kind of sums it up. Every scouting report on Räty that I’ve read says his shot and hands are dangerous but skating is a concern. That along with poor production in Finland during his draft year are reasons why he fell to 52nd overall.

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin told the media that Räty would be sent to Abbotsford. That is fine because he needs to develop.

The 20-year-old (Born on November 14, 2002) played 12 games with the Islanders this season and scored two goals. His first was in his first game against the Florida Panthers and the second…was against the Canucks.

Well, they weren’t lying when they said he has a good shot.

Räty also had a decent 2022 World Juniors. He had three goals and seven assists in seven games and helped Finland win silver.

I believe Räty’s ceiling is a middle-six centre, so likely a third-liner or second-liner. However, I also believe the Canucks are willing to bet that Räty will be a top-six centre in the future and that is why they decided to acquire him.

The potential is there and Räty has talent. He looks like he could play in the NHL sooner or later but putting him in Abbotsford, for now, could sharpen him up a little

Goodbye Bo

It’s a shame Horvat also saw the playoffs twice as a Canuck. The first was in his rookie year in 2015 and the second was the bubble in 2020.

Of course, we can’t forget this amazing shorthanded goal he scored in the bubble against the St. Louis Blues. This has to be his best goal as a Canuck.

That summer, Horvat proved he can turn up his game to a different level in the playoffs with 10 goals in 17 games. (Including the play-in round against the Minnesota Wild.)

“I’m not gonna lie in the summertime and early in the year I thought I was gonna be a Canuck, a Canuck for life,” said Horvat to the media after the trade per Harman Dayal of The Athletic.

Oof. That stings.

Horvat deserved better in Vancouver. He deserved to be in the playoffs every year. But we all know how the Canucks were built.

Horvat was never that Selke-winning defensive centre he was touted to be when he was drafted. However, he proved he was a decent offensive player and a great face-off guy. He was a class act on and off the ice and worked hard pretty much every game.

One memory I will always have of Horvat is when he fought Noel Acciari of the Boston Bruins in October 2018. I was at that game and that was just the second hockey game I had ever been to.

Horvat was all over that game and he eventually ended up scoring the overtime winner.

We watched Horvat grow into a leader and a good captain for this hockey team. He was never afraid of speaking his mind on social issues. Horvat was in front of the cameras speaking about the importance of Black Lives Matter in the bubble for instance.

Whether that is in Long Island or elsewhere, Horvat deserves to play in the playoffs and Canucks fans should wish him nothing but the best. He leaves Vancouver with 420 points and that puts him 10th on the Canucks All-Time list. Not bad. He is also eighth all-time in goals with 201. It’s a shame he couldn’t stay to climb the rankings.

But trading him was the right move. The return might have been underwhelming but this shows this organization is starting to think long-term. Hopefully, that thinking continues.