Despite their lack of success in the last two seasons, there's no doubting how tightly knit the group of NY Islanders were before Monday evenings blockbuster trade. Now, Anthony Beauvillier and Aatu Räty are members of the Vancouver Canucks (as well as the Isles 2023 top-12 protected first-round pick) and Bo Horvat is the newest member of the Islanders. On tuesday morning, the two former Islanders addressed the media in Vancouver, expressing their excitment, but also showing some vulnerability leaving the team that drafted both players.
The Islanders drafted Beauvillier in the first round, 28th overall of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. He was selected 13 spots behind his best friend, Mathew Barzal, in what was a dream scenario for the two buddies to play professional hockey on the same team together. Beauvillier played six-plus seasons for the Islanders, skating in 457 regular season games totaling 102 goals and 107 assists for 209 points. He struggled to stay consistent for the Islanders as a streaky forward but had a knack for shining in the postseason where Beauvillier created some of the most memorable moments in recent Islanders history, including a game-winning goal in Game 6 of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the last game at Nassau Coliseum, sending the Islanders and the Tampa Bay Lightning to Game 7.
"Tough to leave the Islanders, but at the same time, very excited to join this Canucks team," Beauvillier told the media in Vancouver. "I'm very excited to find my game again."
Räty's stint was shorter, but hit just the same as Beauvillier as it appears the 20-year-old center felt a sense of gratitude toward the team that drafted him in the second round, 52nd overall of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.
Once looked at as the consensus No.1 overall pick in his draft year, Räty fell 52 spots following a tough season playing for Oulun Kärpät in the SHL. The Islanders snagged him with their first pick of the draft after dealing their first-round pick at the trade deadline. Räty, now a member of the Canucks, reflects on his feelings following the trade.
"It's tough leaving New York," Räty explained Tuesday morning to the media. "That's the team that drafted me and gave me my first opportunity. But that's how the business goes."
Räty followed his draft year playing remarkably in the SHL with Jukurit, then for team Finland at the U20 World Juniors, followed by some impressive play with the Bridgeport and varsity Islanders. In 12 games in the NHL, Räty scored two goals and showed a solid NHL foundation.
The Canucks visit UBS Arena soon as the Islanders host Vancouver on Feb.9th, so Beauvillier's return to Long Island is rather soon. Canucks GM Patrick Allvin says Räty will be playing for Abbotsford in the AHL.
"It'll be something different getting dressed in the visitor's locker room," Beauvillier said. "I haven't wrapped my head around it... It'll definitely be a weird feeling."