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Canucks GM Allvin says, 'We got three first-rounders back' in Horvat trade

They did not, in fact, get three first-round picks back from the New York Islanders for Bo Horvat.
Vancouver Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin speaks to the media after trading Bo Horvat to the New York Islanders.

The Vancouver Canucks got, at the very least, an interesting return for Bo Horvat from the New York Islanders.

The range of potential outcomes is extremely wide. The trade return could wind up being as little as a late first-round pick in 2023, a bust of a prospect, and yet another struggling, middle-six winger on a team that has far too many already. Or, it could end up being a top-ten pick in 2024, a high-end second-line centre, and a top-six, goal-scoring winger.

What it won't be is three first-round picks, no matter how Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin might try to spin it.

"You could look at it that we got, actually, three first-rounders back," said Allvin. "I think it was important for us to get a first-round pick back, we got a young prospect in Aatu Räty, and getting a 25-year-old young player in Anthony Beauvillier."

It always sounds silly when a general manager references the past draft position of an acquired player as if it has any bearing on who they currently are as a player. It sounds even sillier when it's incorrect.

Räty famously slid out of the first round in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft and didn't get picked until late in the second round, 52nd overall. Allvin likely meant that they view Räty as a first-round talent — he wouldn't be alone in thinking so — but even still, that was two years ago. Whether or not Räty should have been drafted in the first round in 2021 is immaterial.

"Our scouting staff here really liked him his draft year," said Allvin. "He was a highly-rated player. Struggled a little bit in the end of his draft year, I think that's why he slid out of the first round, but he had such a strong draft year plus one back in Finland, having a point-per-game, I believe, in the top league there and then came back and played really strong here in the World Juniors."

Draft position matters even less for a player like Beauvillier, who was drafted 28th overall eight years ago in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Thinking of him as a first-round pick seems exceedingly strange.

That said, the quote likely doesn't reflect any of the underlying thinking that went into this trade — or hopefully doesn't. It's the kind of quote that might play well in some markets but not in a hockey-savvy Canadian market like Vancouver, who saw the team's former management group use draft position to justify the Erik Gudbranson trade.

Allvin confirmed a few other things in his post-trade media availability. He said the Canucks intend to start Räty in the AHL with the Abbotsford Canucks, where they've also stashed other young players like Nils Höglander, Vasily Podkolzin, and Jack Rathbone, insulating them from the mess in Vancouver and working to develop them under Abbotsford head coach Jeremy Colliton.

"It's getting all those young players down to Abbotsford and growing them down there, educating them how we want to play and, for him, to settle into the system we want to play here first, so that's the plan," said Allvin.

He also expressed enthusiasm for Beauvillier's game.

"He's been playing pretty consistent for the New York Islanders over the last couple years, I've seen him a lot in my previous organization in the playoffs," said Allvin. "I like the details he plays with, his tenacity, his puck-hunting, I think he will fit in well here in our top-six group on the left side."