NY Islanders 2023-24 Player Report Card: Bo Horvat Worth Every Dollar in the First Year of Eight-Year Contract

Bo Horvat scored 33 goals in his first full season as a NY Islander.
Bo Horvat scored 33 goals in his first full season as a NY Islander. / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

When the NY Islanders acquired and extended Bo Horvat last season, they were expecting a difference maker who would pair with Mathew Barzal to finally give the Isles a couple of bonafide stars on the top line. Unfortunately, that did not exactly happen in 2022-23, as Horvat struggled to get acclimated on the Island and Barzal was injured late in the season.

However, sometimes, people just need some time to get comfortable with a new situation, and that is exactly what happened here. This season, Horvat took off right from the start, averaging a point-per-game over the first few weeks of the season and finishing the season with 33 goals, 68 points, and a 54% faceoff winning percentage. Horvat also showed a willingness to defend his teammates, and often came up big in the clutch.

Horvat developed terrific chemistry with Mat Barzal, and although the two often had a revolving door at left wing (perhaps an area of the roster that should be addressed this offseason), Horvat's ability to win faceoffs and drive play into the offensive zone blended perfectly with Barzal's neutral zone skating ability and offensive-zone playmaking. Finally, Barzal has a linemate that can raise his game to its highest level.

And Horvat often raised his game to the highest level in the most important moments, as he developed a knack for scoring overtime winners. Horvat scored three overtime winners this year, including a dagger into the heart of John Tavares and the Toronto Maple Leafs back in December (which counts as a bit of "extra credit" in this report card).

Horvat also contributed positively on special teams, most notably the power play. In recent years, the Islanders have frustratingly had one of the worst power plays in the NHL. However, this season, the Islanders hovered around the top 10 for most of the season, largely due to Horvat's impact. While the power play struggled in the last month or so of the season and finished 19th in the league, the improvements were noticeable throughout the season.

Last season, Horvat was invisible in the playoffs against Carolina. This season, unfortunately, he wasn't much better. Outside of an important goal in a losing effort in Game 2, and a terrific Game 4 that included two assists in a double-overtime victory, Horvat did go scoreless in three of the five playoff games. Like the other stars on the roster, Horvat is going to have to figure out a way to bring his best game consistently in the postseason.

But there is no other way to look at this season other than a great success for Bo Horvat and the Islanders. Horvat's eight-year contract worth $68 million looks positive now for the Islanders, and I would consider Horvat a potential future captain if Anders Lee ever relinquishes the title. In his first full season with the Isles, Horvat delivered leadership on and off the ice, strong two-way play, an ability to win big faceoffs, nearly 70 points, and multiple thrilling overtime winners.

However, he three scoreless playoff games are a demerit, and like the other stars on the team, Horvat will have to figure out how to bring his best game in the postseason.

Final Grade: A-