When I was watching the second round of this year's draft, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Vancouver had made a trade, more so when I heard a conditional first rounder pick was involved. I thought to myself, it looks like Barrie's coming home, but was shocked when it was announced that the trade was with the Tampa Bay Lightning, and then livid that it was JT Miller as the return. Time has passed since then and I've given some time to let the trade stew in my heart and, to be honest, I really do think it's a fair trade.
Queue in the title. Would you trade Bo Horvat for a depth goaltender, a third round draft pick and a first rounder?
I make this comparison because there are a a bunch of similarities between the two players.
Here are Horvat's stats compared to Miller's stats (retrieved from Hockeydb)
And here are their contracts, again, compared to one another (retrieved from Capfriendly).
Now let's begin with the comparisons. Both players have surpassed the fifty point mark in their careers, Bo doing twice (52 pts, 2016-2017; 61 pts 2018-2019) and Miller also doing it twice (56 pts, 2016-2017; 58 pts, 2017-2018). From what I have gathered, both players are considered to be good in both ends of the ice and both players kill penalties. Their contracts are actually surprising fair and similar (especially when you consider that the 27 year old Hayes was paid 7million for 7 years while only hitting above 50pts just once), with both of them being signed until 2022-2023. With the way this market is going and the fact that these two players can still trend upward in a Vancouver team that will no doubt lean on them heavily for the coming years, these contracts are an absolute bargain.
While Horvat is 2 years younger, and the presumably the future captain of this franchise, it is hard not to equate him to Miller on a player to player basis. Yet how many of us would trade away Horvat for the return that Miller had retrieved? It's an interesting thought experiment because I, and many of my fellow posters here, would consider Horvat to be an untouchable, yet the general consensus here seems to be the trade for Miller was an outright overpayment. I know, I know, context matters. The Lightning were in serious cap trouble, and we seemingly gifted them a way out when they should have been forced to pay more or to demand less. No one has qualms with trading away Mazaenc, nor the third round draft pick this year. Everyone seems to gawk, to stand in awe of the conditional first rounder we surrendered to Tampa.
But context matters.
We have been basement dwellers for 4 seasons in a row, netting top 10 draft picks for 5 out of 6 seasons. How long are we going to remain terrible given that the talent we have drafted continues to develop? Is it fair to think that the likes of Hughes, Boeser, Horvat, Petterson, Juolevi, Demko, Lind, Gadjovich, Woo, Virtanen, Gaudette and some under the radar prospects cannot push us out of the lower echelon of NHL teams? We have grade A talent and these players are about to come into their own very soon, so we can only expect that this team gradually gets better. Gone are the likes of old core and the core supplemental players. The new generation of players start now. We may very well may miss the playoffs next season, but the first we gave up is lottery protected. 2 years from now, Pettersson will have gained another year of development to elevate his play, Hughes will have found his way in the big leagues, Demko will hopefully secure his reign in the net and we could potentially have Podkolzin join this team. All the while the core ages another year, reaching ever so closer to their physical prime of their mid twenties. This will be a good team in 2 years, and I do not think that conditional first will be picking in the top 10.
Anyways, that's all I had to say on my little soap box. Let me know what you think.