The NY Islanders finished the month of January with back-to-back wins against the Detroit Red Wings and the Vegas Golden Knights. Yet, in each of those wins, the Isles scored just two goals in each game. The narrative remains the same despite the wins. The Islanders have the defense to keep pucks out of their net and the goaltending that's considered among the best in the NHL. What they're missing is the ability to score goals. On the latest episode of 32 Thoughts the Podcast, Sportsnet Insider Elliotte Friedman suspects the Isles might be in on the Vancouver Canucks captain and pending free agent, Bo Horvat.
"I've wondered if the Islanders are around this but I don't think they want (Horvat) as a rental," Friedman speculated to Jeff Marek. "I think they would be looking for longer (term). Someone said to me “’it makes too much sense. You never know what (the Islanders are) doing. All year long we’ve been talking about how they can’t score and here’s a guy who’s on pace for 50-something goals this year.’”
To be exact, Horvat's 31 goals in 49 games have him on pace for 52 goals in an 82-game span. Canucks GM Patrik Allvin tells “Canucks Central” he and Horvat’s agent last Tuesday and he’s “still talking to his agent and we’ll see where it goes.” However, The Fourth Period insider, David Pagnotta, reports that he's been told more recently that "discussions involving Horvat have picked up a fair amount. One source even suggested a move is expected sooner than later." Additionally, Pagnotta mentions the price tag remains high, but progress is being made toward moving the 27-year-old center.
Friedman mentions the Islanders would only want to make this move if it comes with a long-term attachment to Horvat and that should come to the surprise of no one. That's exactly how GM Lou Lamoriello handles his business. He's proved it in the past when he acquired J.G. Pageau and Kyle Palmieri. If something were to come to fruition, it should come as no surprise if Horvat was extended.
Now you might be thinking the Islanders are already deep at center, especially with Aatu Räty somewhat in the fold. That's absolutely true, too. However, head coach Lane Lambert hasn't been afraid to try Mathew Barzal on Brock Nelson's wing with Anders Lee, and although the sample with that trio has been small, it's definitely piqued the interest of many with how dominant they've been as a line.
The Islanders surely lack goals and Horvat certainly provides them. If the plan isn't to tear it down and sell off assets, the only thing the Islanders can do is add to this roster and add the one thing they're missing which Horvat provides. Time will tell, and its certainly fair to speculate if the Islanders even have the assets to afford one of the most anticipated players heading into the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline.