Lightning Round: The 2023 Trade Deadline Derby is officially underway

One of the top names is off of the market

There is usually a minor-to-big deal a month away from the trade deadline that kicks things off for all of the other teams. There was no such wait for the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline. The consensus number one target, Bo Horvat, is off the board with more than a month to go in the trade sweepstakes. On Monday, the Vancouver Canucks dealt their soon-to-be free agent to the New York Islanders.

In exchange for three-plus months of Horvat the Islanders sent Anthony Beauviller, prospect Aatu Raty, and a conditional first round pick to the Canucks. Vancouver also retained 25% of Hovart’s remaining cap hit. That’s certainly....a trade. According to reports the first round pick is top-12 protected, so should the Islanders crash and burn after this big move, they could still end up with the pick.

For now, they are looking to add some scoring punch (they are 25th in the league at 2.85 GF/G) so that they can make a run at a wild card spot. Currently they sit 2 points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference (although the Pens have 3 games in hand on them).

Horvat should provide that scoring they desperately need (if he can keep shooting at 21.5%, that is). With 31 goals in just 49 games he’s already matched his career high. The 11 markers he’s posted with the extra skater should help the 31st-ranked power play in the league. Horvat should slot into the top line with Mathew Barzal and Josh Bailey.

Aatu Raty is the likely key to the deal for the Canucks. Beauviller is a nice additional piece who can provide a little offense, but has issues defensively:

He’s still just 25-years-old and is under contract for another season. With a strong month the Canucks could look at flipping him at the deadline or during the summer should their retool need a few more pieces.

Selected in the second round of the 2021 NHL Draft (52nd overall) Raty was considered one of the top prospects in the Islanders organization. He had a cup of coffee with the Islanders this season, scoring 2 goals in 12 games, but has spent most of his first season in North American hockey in Bridgeport where he has 15 points (7 goals, 8 assists) in 27 games as a newly minted 20-year-old (he turned 20 in November).

Corey Pronman had him pegged as a future third-line center in the league. He praised his vision and hands, but mentioned that the best version of Raty doesn’t show up every night. With Vancouver going through some changes he should get plenty of opportunity to show the coaching staff what he can bring to the table.

The first round pick is a nice bonus (if the Islanders do retain it, it slips to an unprotected pick in 2024) in what should be a deep draft next summer. Vancouver now has two first round picks and six in the first four rounds with several more possible deals that could be made over the next few weeks.

There are some interesting wrinkles in the aftermath of the deal. For one, Hovart was supposed to represent the Pacific Division at the All-Star this weekend. Does he still do it  or do they fill the spot?

Also, current President of Hockey Operations for the Islanders Lou Lamoriello, who signed off on this trade once traded a 2013 first round pick to Vancouver for goaltender Cory Schneider. The Canucks used that pick for...Bo Hovart.

With Hovart off of the board, San Jose Sharks’ forward Timo Meier becomes the top target for the rest of the league.

Lightning / NHL News

Rudy Balcers clears waivers [Elliotte Friedman Twitter]

The Lightning forward cleared and was assigned to Syracuse. That allowed them to “recall” Nick Perbix who had been assigned to Syracuse to make things work on the money side. It’s mildly surprising (like 15%) that Florida didn’t claim him since it wouldn’t have really cost them anything and they could have sent him to the AHL.

Random Trade Week: John Grahame [Raw Charge]

The man who had to fill Nikolai Khabibulin’s skates (and inspired John Tortorella’s “I’m really tired of the 25% rule” quote).

Player of the Week: Brayden Point [Tampa Bay Lightning]

We had him as one of the players of the week for Raw Charge as well.

Andrei Vasilevskiy - Third Star of the Week []

Vasilevskiy makes it three Lightning players in three weeks to be named one of the stars of the week. William Nylander was the second star and Claude Giroux nabbed the first star.

Hugo Alnefelt AHL Player of the Week [ Twitter]

When you stop 80 of 81 shots over a weekend, chances are you’re going to get some recognition. The Lightning’s top goaltending prospect was the top player in the AHL last week.

Bobby Hull passes away at age 84 [Second City Hockey]

One of the best players to ever lace up the skates. Off the ice, not so much.

The league announced the rosters for the Alumni game that will take place this weekend: