On the ice for the final seconds of Monday’s 2-1 victory over the host Philadelphia Flyers, newcomer Bo Horvat battled for control of the puck as the Wells Fargo Center buzzer sounded, ending his New York Islanders’ debut.
The recently acquired All-Star center failed to record a point in 19:08 of ice time, including 2:55 on the power play, but he did generate four shots on goal and didn’t look out of place as the Islanders secured a much-needed victory coming off an eight-day break.
Horvat was acquired and subsequently signed to a long-term contract to, in part, put a jolt in the Islanders’ stagnant offense.
It may take some time.
🎥 Bo Horvat Postgame Availability 🎥 pic.twitter.com/2nIqzJw7Z7
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) February 7, 2023
Bo Horvat Signs On For Long Haul
Coming out of the Islanders’ all-star break, Horvat on Monday dressed for his first game since his Jan. 30 trade from the Vancouver Canucks. He began on the top forward line with Mathew Barzal and Josh Bailey and first power-play unit.
Horvat’s presence and playmaking skills are expected to boost the Islanders’ power play. It entered Monday as the league’s lowest-rated unit, scoring on just 15.5 percent of its opportunities.
To prepare for his debut, Horvat participated in Sunday’s practice and Monday morning’s skate. During his early 5-on-5 shifts against the Flyers, the 27-year-old basically kept his game simple. He registered a few quality chances during a first-period man-advantage situation.
The #Isles are undefeated with Bo Horvat in the line-up. pic.twitter.com/KqSRMbjtub
— EVERYDAYISLES (@EverydayIsles) February 7, 2023
Islanders GM: ‘We came in … we signed’
On Sunday, Horvat agreed to an 8-year contract with the Islanders. Financial terms were not released. He could have filed for unrestricted free agency this offseason.
“It’s a relief to be honest with you,” Horvat said, as reported by NHL.com. “It’s been a mental grind of a year to say the least. To be locked in here for eight years is special to me.”
If only all negotiations could be this easy.
“We were able to get it done, quite frankly, first thing this morning,” Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello said. “When he came in, he had a conversation with his representative, and we signed.”
Monday’s win lifted the Islanders into a tie with the Pittsburgh Penguins for the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. Still, it’s a precarious situation, considering the Penguins have four games in hand on the Islanders, who host the Seattle Kraken on Tuesday, the Canucks on Thursday and Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.
By week’s end, the Islanders should have a good idea of what the next eight years will look like with Horvat in the lineup.