The Vancouver Canucks officially have two new faces in the organization.
On Monday afternoon, the team made one of their boldest moves in recent memory, trading captain Bo Horvat to the New York Islanders in exchange for forward Anthony Beauvillier, centre prospect Aatu Räty and a protected first round pick in the upcoming 2023 NHL Entry Draft.
It was also later confirmed that Vancouver will be retaining 25% of Horvat’s $5.5 million AAV.
No, the trade wasn’t unexpected, as essentially everyone in the hockey world knew that Horvat’s time in Vancouver would likely be coming to an end before this year’s trade deadline on March 3rd.
However, it was still shocking for fans and media to find out that the 27-year-old centre had been dealt with over four weeks to go until the aforementioned date.
Of course, it’ll be hard to not keep tabs on Horvat for the rest of the season, not only to see if he continues his prolific goal-scoring rate on Long Island but, more importantly, to see if he can ink a long-term contract extension with the Islanders between now and the beginning of free agency on July 1st.
But, in the meantime, fans and media should focus their attention on what the Canucks received in return.
Let’s start with Beauvillier.
Originally selected 28th overall in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Beauvillier spent his entire young NHL career with the Islanders before the trade, amassing 102 goals and 107 assists in 457 games played.
The 25-year-old winger was a solid fixture in New York’s top-six forward rotation, often playing alongside the likes of Mathew Barzal, Anders Lee, and Josh Bailey, while also suiting up for both the man advantage and penalty kill units.
However, despite his prominent role with the Islanders, Beauvillier was still not known for a scoring touch, never having passed the 40-point mark in his first six full seasons. He hit a career-high in points (39) in 2019-20, while also notching a career-high 21 goals in 2017-18 and 22 assists in 2021-22.
With the ability to play left and right wing, Beauvillier is likely expected to slot into Vancouver’s top-six rotation as well, especially with Ilya Mikheyev sidelined for the rest of the year with season-ending achilles tendon surgery, but could also find himself on the third line.
Beauvillier is currently in the middle of his three-year, $12.45 million contract, which pays him an AAV of $4.15 million . He has the possibility of hitting free agency following the 2023-24 campaign.
Räty, on the other hand, is a bit more intriguing.
The 20-year-old centre was originally pegged to be a guaranteed top-10 selection leading up to the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, especially with his impressive international play with Finland.
However, Räty’s performance dipped during the second half of the 2020-21 campaign, which also dropped his overall draft value.
In the end, the Oulu, Finland native was selected 52nd overall by the Islanders, 11 picks after Vancouver drafted Danila Klimovich.
Räty was loaned back to Kärpät and Jukurit the following year, where he notched 41 points in 47 games, while also suiting up for the Bridgeport Islanders for two games.
Räty continued his AHL stint the following season, amassing seven goals and eight assists in 27 games, while also scoring two goals in 12 games in his NHL rookie season.
Although the jury is still out on Räty given his small sample size of games, many scouts in the hockey world have labelled him as a big, strong and speedy centre with creative hands and a deceptive shot. However, Räty has also been described as a player who can’t drive him own line and will likely peak at top-nine forward potential.
In other words, Räty could slot into the 3C position behind Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller.
Following the trade, General Manager Patrik Allvin announced that Räty will be assigned to Abbotsford, joining Vasily Podkolzin and Nils Hoglander in the minors.
Räty is currently in year two of his entry-level contract which will pay him $902,000 per season until 2025. Unlike Beauvillier, don’t be surprised if he don’t see him crack the line-up this year.
The Canucks are officially on All-Star break, and will resume their season on February 6th on the road against the New Jersey Devils.
What are your thoughts on Beauvillier and Raty? Let us know in the comments!