SUNRISE, Fla. — Connor McDavid has spent his career dealing with Bo Horvat in the Pacific Division. So the Oilers star, who is universally acclaimed as the NHL’s best, knows well what the Islanders are How the betting market reacted to Islanders’ Bo Horvat trade, who will make his debut with his new team on Monday in Philadelphia after he was acquired from the Canucks this past week.
“He’s gonna be somebody that brings it each and every night,” McDavid said. “Somebody that can play at both ends of the rink. Obviously he’s having a career year scoring goals. Defensively, he’s solid. He’s great on the kill. Obviously his faceoff numbers speak for themselves. They’re kind of getting somebody that can do it all.”
It likely won’t be clear where Horvat will slot into the Islanders’ lineup until they take pregame rushes Monday. But the educated guess is he will be taking faceoffs on the top line with Mathew Barzal, though who would slide over to play the wing is an open question.
Horvat’s 31 goals this season have already matched his career high. With his shooting percentage at an unsustainable 21.7 percent, it’s unlikely he’ll score at a 50-goal pace beyond this season if he stays with the Islanders. But they are getting a player capable of scoring at least 30 times annually — something they needed to add to their lineup badly.
“I just think his confidence is there,” McDavid said. “He got off to a real good start, that helps so many different things. Obviously namely confidence. He feels good about himself, I think he feels good about his game. It just shows out there.”
Horvat skated with McDavid and the rest of the Pacific Division All-Stars on Saturday, though he wore an Islanders jersey at the skills competition Friday night.
“We talked about it,” said Pettersson, Horvat’s former teammate with the Canucks. “Whatever happens, make sure we score one together.”
Horvat’s focus now will turn to getting acclimated with the Islanders, who will practice on Sunday before going to Philadelphia.
“[All-Star] was great, but at the same time, I wanted to get going,” Horvat said. “Enough’s enough now. Let’s start playing some games and get to know the guys. I just want to start playing hockey again.”
He has at least gotten a chance this weekend to meet Brock Nelson and Ilya Sorokin, his new Islanders teammates and fellow All-Stars.
“He’s gonna bring a huge element to our team up front, depth, scoring,” Nelson said. “He does a little bit of everything. Kills, power play, five-on-five. So he’s gonna be a huge part of our team. That’s a big move for us, a big move by Lou [Lamoriello] to kinda try to get things going.”