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Will Horvat Deal Loosen Up Trade Market???

January 31, 2023, 5:52 PM ET [196 Comments]
Mike Augello
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NHL trades have not exactly been brisk this season, with 13 deals being made since the beginning of the 2022-23 campaign, but with five weeks left to go before the March 3rd deadline, the first big domino has fallen, as the NY Islanders acquired center Bo Horvat from the Vancouver Canucks for forwards Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu Raty, and a conditional 2023 first round pick.

The 27-year-old Horvat was arguably the most sought-after forward on the market and the Islanders paid a hefty price, including a top-12 protected first in a very strong draft this June, and Raty (a 20-year-old center who had 15 points with AHL Bridgeport), and a 25-year-old winger in Beauvillier who has scored in double figures five times.

How this effects the Toronto Maple Leafs depends on who they are targeting in the next five weeks. GM Kyle Dubas appears to be in the market for a top-six winger, such as Timo Meier of the San Jose Sharks or Tyler Bertuzzi of the Detroit Red Wings.

reports that an NHL executive believes the price for Meier (who is on pace for 45 goals and is an RFA with a high qualifying offer this summer) will be in the same neighborhood as what New York paid for Horvat.

That would equate to Toronto (and folks, this is not a rumor, just speculation of a potential price) as a roster player like Rasmus Sandin, a prospect like Roni Hirvonen, and a first-round pick. For Bertuzzi, who has been injured three times this season, the price would likely not include a roster player, but a first and second-tier prospect.

The thought is that Dubas does not want to deal his first in a reportedly strong 2023 Draft for a rental, which could mean making it a conditional pick (to give the Leafs an option for 2023 or 2024), or could mean that Toronto will only deal the first for a player with term or that they know they can re-sign.

The Leafs GM’s recent trip to Vancouver could have involved interest in Horvat, but may have more to do with former Toronto first rounder Luke Schenn, who had seven hits in just under 20 minutes against Columbus. The need for physicality (especially in the absence of Jake Muzzin) has been more apparent as clubs begin to play more playoff-style hockey in the second half, and Schenn’s $850,000 salary would be easy to fit under the cap.


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