The Vancouver Canucks have traded captain Bo Horvat to the New York Islanders in exchange for forward Anthony Beauvillier, prospect Aatu Raty and a conditional first-round pick in 2023, the club announced.
The 2023 pick is top-12 protected, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
“First of all, we would like to thank Bo Horvat for all that he has done for the Vancouver Canucks during his nine seasons in Vancouver,” Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said in a statement. “He has been a great leader and ambassador for our hockey club.
“As difficult as it is to trade away our captain, we are excited to add a high-quality 25-year-old winger in Anthony Beauvillier, a young centre in Aatu Raty, and a protected first-round draft pick. These pieces will be a big part of our development and growth moving forward.”
Horvat, a pending unrestricted free agent, is in the middle of a career-best season, with 31 goals and 24 assists through 49 games, good enough to earn him a spot on the Pacific Division’s NHL All-Star Game roster.
Amid his success and the Canucks’ struggles, it became increasingly clear the Canucks would trade their captain as talks intensified over the last 10 days.
“I believe we’ve taken our best shot. The contract we have on the table for Bo right now is fair value for what he’s done up to this year,” Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford said on Jan. 16. “It’s certainly under market value for what he’s done this year so we’re in a pickle here. He’s had a career year, and he’s looking for his money. He deserves it. I don’t blame him.
“Even with what we have on the table for him now without any changes … we’re well over the cap on projections. There are ways of moving money around but the fact of the matter is it’s always a tough fit.”
Now he’s the first domino to fall on a Canucks roster that will likely undergo more changes.
Horvat is due a major pay raise from his current $5.5 million cap hit. The Canucks, who entered the season right up against the cap, signed fellow centre J.T. Miller last off-season to a seven-year, $56-million extension which kicks in next season.
The trade 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.
Beauvillier has nine goals and 11 assists in 49 games this season, while Raty has two goals in 12 games.
Raty also has seven goals and eight assists in 27 games with the American Hockey League’s Bridgeport Islanders.
In Horvat, the Islanders receive some much-needed scoring punch and star power. The club had struck out on attracting a number stars recently, including Johnny Gaudreau last off-season.
Horvat was selected ninth overall by the Canucks in the 2013 NHL Draft, a pick Vancouver acquired from then-Devils GM Lou Lamoriello in exchange for Corey Schneider.
With files from The Canadian Press