Is Horvat on the islanders’ radar? The Canucks captain could be missing a piece

Is Horvat on the islanders’ radar? The Canucks captain could be missing a piece

Seventeen games into the season, first-year New York Islanders head coach Lane Lambert has not perfected his offensive lines.

For MoneyPuck, he has released 13 different line combinations (minimum 10 minutes). And despite an 11-6-0 record and 3.35 goals per game, another forward could help.

That missing piece could be waiting for the Canucks’ captain in Vancouver Good Horvat.

Despite his team’s ugly 5-9-3, Horvat has started with 14 goals and six assists in 17 games. The 27-year-old will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season. And considering how he’s going, he needs to get a raise from the $5.5 million he’s currently making annually.

TSN reported on Sept. 22 that contract talks between Vancouver and Horvat Field were dragging on. The belief was that if there was no deal before the March trade deadline, Horvat would be moved.

Flash forward almost two months later, this is the last one. For CHEK TV’s Rick Dhaliwal, the Canucks don’t plan to meet with Horvat’s agent as the club heads to Toronto, but the goal is still to extend him. Also, there is no sense of a pending trade at this point for Vancouver.

If New York believes that Horvat can certainly help them win hockey games, especially in the playoffs (if applicable), now is the time to use the available cap space and package some NHL players and prospects to get a deal done.

The Islanders have traded away their first-round picks in each of the past four years. Most recently, they moved their 2022 first round pick (13th overall) for defense Alexander Romanov

Fun fact: As general manager of the New Jersey Devils, Lou Lamoriello acquired goaltender Cory Schneider from the Canucks in exchange for the ninth overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft. Vancouver selected Horvat with that pick.

A few weeks ago, Sportsnet’s Elliott Friedman reported that there were Islanders Scouts in Vancouver, something to keep an eye on as the season progresses.

So what should New York offer for Horvat?

That depends on whether Horvat is signing an extension or not. The hypothetical guess is that if Lamoriello gave up prospects and picks, he would sign Horvat to a multi-year extension like we saw when Jean-Gabriel Pageau he came from the Ottawa Senators and immediately signed a six-year extension.

Right now, the Islanders have $13.46 million in deadline cap space, so need An NHL regular does not need to be included in the deal to unload expenses. But they could clear some cap space by moving Anthony Beauvillier ($4.15 million) or Josh Bailey ($5 million) as they need to create an everyday roster spot, and those two have struggled.

Nikita Soshnikov was placed on waivers Tuesday, meaning New York has a spot available if no one is called up. In theory, players like Beauvillier and Bailey could be well scratched by Lambert, with New York having more than just Ross Johnston as an extra forward.

But if someone can be moved in the trade, that may allow the Islanders to go and potentially add a top-four defenseman to bolster the backend, despite how Sebastian Aho has played recently.

Let’s start with the prospects that could be included.

Both of us Aatu Räty i William Dufour maintain value in the commercial market. Räty, being a two-way center, could be intriguing for Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin, especially when he’s trading one. Also, if Vancouver moves Horvat, it probably means he’s completely rebuilding. And Räty isn’t a bad piece to help start a turnaround.

I will add that the Canucks have their first round pick and if they go into full tank mode Connor Bedardhe’s a center player, so they might want a winger prospect.

Dufour is unknown at this point in his young career. Considering how dominant he was in the QMJHL, winning MVP and the Memorial Cup with the St. John Sea Dogs, their value may never be as high again.

As the infamous saying goes, “Buy low, sell high.”

Both could be a piece of the trade puzzle alongside Beauvillier and Bailey. Of course, New York would have to throw in a few draft picks.

If the Canucks take on the final year of Bailey’s contract, taking a first rounder to do so makes sense. If not, a second and third round might be enough.

Now, Vancouver may not want two forwards in a deal and may want to bring in defensive prospects. The Islanders have a few in Samuel Bolduc, Odelius Street and Isaiah George that can attract them. New York has no untouchable prospects, especially when they are in win mode now.

George was a standout during development camp, so if the Islanders can hang on to him, that would be ideal.

Here’s an example of what a potential deal could look like for Horvat:

To Canucks: Josh Bailey, William Dufour, 2023 1st, 2023 4th

In the islanders: Good Horvat

New York needs a forward, and Horvat’s game would complement the Islanders’ structured game. If Horvat is a center, someone should move to the wing. We’ve seen Mathew Barzal play the wing this season late in games and in practices, and Brock Nelson has also played the wing before.

Having too many centers isn’t a problem, and adding a player like Horvat at 27 (not a player like Nazem Kadri at 31) makes the move logical.

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