Despite not coming to an agreement on a contract extension last summer, Bo Horvat still thought he had a future with the Vancouver Canucks.
“I thought I was going to be a Canuck for life, to be honest with you, and things just didn’t work out that way,” Horvat said in a virtual press conference from Disneyland where he took his family ahead of the All-Star break. “And you know it led me to this so I’m grateful for that.
“I’m grateful that the New York Islanders really believe in me and I’m proud to be a New York Islander now. Honestly, I can’t wait.”
Horvat said that the days leading up to the trade were “a whirlwind.” After extension speculations and the pressure hovering over the Canucks in the Bruce Boudreau era, moving on from Vancouver to Long Island hasn’t sunk in just yet.
“There was a lot going on this year, to say the least, and it hadn’t been hasn’t been an easy year,” Horvat said. “Dealing with just everything that’s going on and happen for it to kind of it’s not. Again, it hasn’t sunk in yet.
“It’s a tough goodbye and it doesn’t go unnoticed what everybody’s done for me and in the Canucks organization.”
Assuming he starts playing with the Islanders as soon as the All-Star break ends, Horvat’s third game with New York would be against Vancouver on Feb. 9. Needless to say, the 27-year-old is well aware of that.
“That is gonna be an interesting game to say the least,” Horvat said. “Among among other things, it’s going to be a little weird skating on the other side of the ice from all my ex teammates. It’s a game that I’ve already circled on my calendar. I can’t wait to play.”
The Isles are certainly licking their chops at acquiring the former Canucks captain. General manager Lou Lamoriello said that giving up Beauvilier and Raty as well as a 2023 first-rounder wasn’t easy but it was a trade that would help their team.
Lamoriello added that the Canucks withheld 25 per cent of Horvat’s cap hit, making it a salary swap with Beauvilier.
“We felt that Bo, from everything we’ve seen and the different transactions that have happened in Vancouver over the last month, that possibly he would be moved away,” said Isles GM Lou Lamoriello.
“We have to give something to get something. It’s not something that we wanted to do but I think with the depth that we have down the middle, that this is something that we feel improved our hockey team. Both today and tomorrow, we’re dealing with a 27 year old player that is in his prime.”
Horvat hasn’t begun contract negoications yet and instead will leave it to his agent Pat Brisson to handle.
“Nothing has been discussed yet,” Horvat said. “It’s kind of all happened so fast. So, yeah, no, no talk on that yet. Obviously, you know, we’ll see if we can get something done.”
“We really haven’t had any discussions yet,” Lamoriello said “But I feel confident that whenever you make a transaction like this, you make it for a player that you feel has character and knows what a team gives up. And certainly feels comfortable in the organization he’s in. I think all of that he’ll recognize quickly and hopefully we’ll get that done.”