The NY Islanders swung for the fences early before the trade deadline this season and landed a much sought-after player and pending UFA in Bo Horvat. The Isles acquired the former-Vancouver Canucks center for Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu Räty, and a conditional first-round pick in the 2023 NHL draft.
After the dust has settled for over 24 hours, the trade has appeared to be very polarizing between Isles fans, with some saying they are risking too much while not currently in a playoff spot, while others are excited about Horvat filling a huge scoring need for the Islanders. A concern that most fans have, however, is if a contract extension is in place or at least likely to be completed. The price the Islanders paid for Horvat is a reasonable one if he were to be a key piece long-term, but if he ends up just being a rental and the Isles don't go on a substantial playoff run, then this trade will be looked at by most as a complete disaster by President and GM Lou Lamoriello.
With that in mind, there are only so many routes New York could go with an extension to go along with Horvat's wishes, so here is what a possible contract could look like regarding the newest addition to the Island.
8 years x 8 million
This is what I see most likely happening, as this was his asking price from the Canucks per Elliott Friedman on the Jeff Marek Show. He also recently stated that he believes that if an extension is done soon, he still sees it as an 8x8. With his rights now belonging to the blue and orange, he is eligible to be re-signed with that 8th year that has been coveted by star players.
"I can't tell you exactly yet what this offer was a couple of weeks ago, but what I think is that the Canucks would like to get the number around the same as Miller, which is $56M, I think that's what they would like."- Elliott Friedman
Lamoriello is no slouch when it comes to negotiating deals with players that he wants to lock up long-term. We have seen it with guys like J.G. Pageau, Brock Nelson, Mathew Barzal, and Alexander Romanov among other notable Islanders that he tries to extend as soon as possible. He is not afraid to give out a big annual cap hit either, again seen in a deal like Barzal's.
At this point in his career, some may see this as an overpay. Some see his market value as being around 7.5 million or lower with this year being a significant step above his past years, but either way, the Islanders can afford it. This hypothetical deal would end when Horvat is 35, which locks him up throughout his prime and makes sure it doesn't dip into the back end of his thirties.
If the number that Horvat signs for is indeed around 7.5-8.5 a year, then the Islanders are expecting him to continue to have seasons such as this one. The 2022-23 season has certainly been an outlier compared to his previous years, registering 31 goals and 54 in just 49 games. The biggest need he addresses is his finishing ability, his power-play efficiency along with leadership.
With Horvat only being able to play a max of 79 games this season (Islanders have played three more games than the Canucks already), he is currently still on pace to score 50 goals if he keeps up his remarkable pace and adjusts quickly to his new teammates. It looks somewhat similar to when they acquired Pageau at the 2020 trade deadline during his career year which saw him score 24 goals with the Ottawa Senators. Pageau also agreed to a five-year extension the moment he was dealt to Long Island.
Another possible route they could go is going with fewer years and more money if the team and player are worried about committing long-term to each other. Horvat could sign for say four to five years, but he would likely make around nine million per season to make up for less financial security. However, it seems unlikely for this to happen due to the Islanders being in a win-now mindset, and having a cap hit at the lowest it can be would be beneficial to making further improvements to the roster. We have seen Lamoriello give out longer-term deals to accommodate the cap hits being lower than their true value with players such as Ryan Pulock, Adam Pelech, Matt Martin and Casey Cizikas in order to keep the nucleus around longer as well.
For now, Horvat will represent the Canucks at the NHL All-Star Game before making his way to a new home. It's reasonable to think that an extension will be in the works around the time he comes to Long Island semi-permanently, and its hard to imagine that Lamoriello made a deal as big as this one without being confident that a deal would get done.