Friedman: NY Islanders Bo Horvat could have received bigger pay day in free agency
By now you know that Lou Lamoriello got his man. Bo Horvat is the newest member of the NY Islanders and he'll be sticking around long-term after the Islanders pried the 27-year-old center from the Vancouver Canucks. The Islanders announced on Sunday evening that Horvat signed an eight-year deal worth $8.5 million per season. There was plenty of speculation after Horvat was acquired whether he was going to sign on Long Island or not as there were a few days between the acquisition and the signing, however, Horvat and Lamoriello hammered out a contract the very morning Horvat stepped foot in Lamoriello's office for the first time. Since signing the $68 million deal, there's certainly been some debate as to whether or not Horvat is worth the price point.
"Bo Horvat comes out (this year), he has a huge season, and he’s on a 50-goal pace," Elliotte Friedman explains on the latest 32 Thoughts podcast. "He’s a No.1 center in the National Hockey League. That’s what these guys cost, that’s what their market value is."
Regardless of your beliefs on the Horvat contract, the fact of the matter is that a top-six center that's on a 50-goal pace. History will show that those types of players tend to receive hefty, long-term contracts in free agency. According to Friedman, he believes the Islanders paid Horvat at a discount as if he made it to free agency, his number per year likely begins with at least a nine.
“If he had a big finish his year and there was a dearth of centers available, yeah, I absolutely think he could have (received $9 million or more per year)," Friedman said. "I totally do. But, I think he liked the fact that the Islanders made the play for him. I think he liked the idea of being in the Eastern Conference and being closer to his family.”
Suffice to say, the Islanders got Horvat cheaper than what he could have signed for in free agency. Luckily for them, Horvat is a family man and that was a major factor in his decision. Islander fans can thank Lamoriello for acquiring Horvat but can turn to Brock Nelson and thank him for helping convince Horvat to stay long-term.
Friedman states: “The timing was really good for the Islanders. Brock Nelson and his family could sit down with the Horvats (while in Sunrise, Florida at the All-Star weekend) and they could talk about life in New York.”