Dreger: Bo Horvat agent caught by surprise with trade to NY Islanders
When the NY Islanders swung a surprise deal for former Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat, it took the NHL world by surprise. Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello stood pat at the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline, followed that with a pretty disappointing summer where he didn't come through on the "hockey trades," he promised to improve the forward group, and doubled down on his roster that he believed only needed a "new voice" behind the bench in Lane Lambert. So the feeling around the Islanders was that Lamoriello was out of touch with the needs of the Isles and they were doomed for another season of missing the playoffs. However, in true Lamoriello fashion, the 80-year-old general manager got to work behind the scenes and acquired the 27-year-old center in stealth. In fact, he was so tight-lipped about this trade that it even took Horvat's agent by surprise when he found out the deal had been made.
“I don’t believe they shopped the offer, but I do know that Patrick Allvin contacted teams and acknowledged that they were ready to move on something that was fairly substantial," Darren Dreger said on an episode of the Sekeres and Price podcast. "That would align with what they had on the table with the New York Islanders or how far they were in that process. But I don’t believe Allvin reached out to teams to say ‘okay here are the specifics of what we have that’s been offered. If you can better it, you’ve got an hour or two to figure that out.’ I don’t think it got to that point."
Multiple teams were interested in acquiring the services of Horvat, and certainly some with deeper pockets than what the Islanders had to offer. According to The Fourth Period, the teams that were linked to Horvat with interest include the Colorado Avalanche, Vegas Golden Knights, Carolina Hurricanes, Seattle Kraken, NY Rangers, New Jersey Devils, Boston Bruins, and Dallas Stars. Instead, Allvin seemed to believe the acquisition of Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu Räty, and the top-12 protected 2023 first-round draft pick might be the best offer he would receive about a month before the trade deadline.
Dreger continued: "And look, that would be out of respect to the process too. Not just Lamoriello. We know Lou holds his cards tight to the vest, that's why none of us who are pretty good at identifying primary trade targets didn’t acknowledge the Islanders as being in the sweepstakes for Bo Horvat. That is by design by Lamoriello. He would literally say to Allvin ‘I shouldn’t have to tell you this because you’re associated with Jim Rutherford, but none of this gets out. Zero, or I’m pulling it off the table.’ I’m not certain that conversation was had, but I know Lou has had that conversation with others, and I also know that the trade caught Pat Morris, the agent, by surprise. That kind of tells you how cloak and dagger this was.”
Cloak and dagger is an excellent way to put it. When the agent is left in the dark, you know things were kept well under wraps and that's Lamoriello's mode of operation. So, Horvat is now an Islander and honored to be one at that. For the remainder of the season, Horvat says he'll let Allvin handle his contract status while he focuses on hockey.