Bo Horvat got the news at Disneyland.
The newest member of the Islanders was enjoying a vacation with his family before going to All-Star Weekend when his phone started to blow up with the news that he had been traded from the Canucks. He knew that was a possibility, taking an extra moment to take in the atmosphere at Rogers Arena after Friday’s game against Chicago before coming off the ice.
“I’d be lying if I said it didn’t cross my mind exiting the ice at Rogers there, that could’ve been my last game at Rogers Arena,” Horvat said on a Zoom call Monday after the Islanders dealt Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu Raty and a top-12 protected first-round pick to the Canucks for his services. “It was a little bit of emotion running through me, obviously just not knowing what was gonna happen. I’m glad I got to soak it in a little bit.”
Horvat, a native of London, Ontario, had been in Vancouver’s organization since being drafted No. 9 overall in 2013 — ironically, with a pick that Lou Lamoriello, while with the Devils, traded the Canucks for Cory Schneider, a current member of the Islanders organization. He was the team captain with the Canucks and, going into last summer, envisioned himself spending his career in the Pacific Northwest.
Bo Horvat thought he’d play with the Canucks for his whole career. Getty Images
“I thought I was gonna be a Canuck for life, to be honest with you,” Horvat said. “Things didn’t work out that way. It led me to this, so I’m grateful for that. I’m grateful that the New York Islanders really believe in me. I’m proud to be a New York Islander right now. Can’t wait.”
Nostalgia aside — and with the Canucks coming to Long Island right after the All-Star break, there will be plenty of room for it down the line — Horvat is with the Islanders to fill a need that in large part comes down to scoring.
He already has 31 goals this season, tying his career-high, and will immediately slot in on the top power play for a unit that entered the All-Star break on a 3-for-64 dry spell. And he has some experience playing with Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Mathew Barzal, Josh Bailey and Ryan Pulock from Team Canada at World Championships.
“I’m gonna try to do whatever I can to help that [scoring],” Horvat said. “Obviously there’s gonna be pressure on me no matter where I go. I’ve had that pretty much my whole career being in Vancouver, being the captain and stuff like that.”
“I think I could definitely add that two-way element. You can put me out in any key situation and take a big faceoff or at the end of the game, scoring a big goal or at least helping on it. I think I can add that to this group.”