Patric Hornqvist has performed 407 regular-season video games with the Pittsburgh Penguins, scoring 264 factors alongside the way in which. Because of his efforts past level scoring, he’s change into a fan favourite within the metropolis.
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Over his six seasons in Pittsburgh, Hornqvist was a participant with on-ice tenacity and is among the group’s finest personalities off the ice. He has change into identified for motivating his teammates and being among the best characters within the locker room. On the age of 33, he’s an integral veteran piece for the Penguins, having performed in 12 NHL seasons between the Penguins and Nashville Predators.
Hornqvist’s Success with the Penguins
Since becoming a member of the Pens, Hornqvist has been one of the crucial constant purpose scorers on the squad, producing a median of twenty-two targets every season. Most of his targets are nothing flashy or highlight-reel materials as he has change into generally known as a gritty net-front presence who will crash and display screen the goalie each likelihood he will get.
It was his tenacity in entrance of the web that led to Hornqvist re-writing Penguins’ historical past books on Dec. 4, 2018 when he scored the quickest hat trick in staff historical past. The primary of his three targets in 2:47 was a rebound alternative he capitalized on by standing sq. in entrance of then-Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov.
Other than being an vital level producer on the staff, Hornqvist has additionally change into a high playoff skater. In six postseasons, he has performed in 66 video games and gathered 38 factors, a couple of of which got here in essential conditions. Followers gained’t quickly neglect his additional time purpose in Recreation 4 of the Japanese Convention Semifinal towards the Washington Capitals in 2016, or his heroic Cup-clinching purpose in Recreation 6 of the 2017 Remaining, towards his former staff, no much less.
Whereas Hornqvist’s tenure in Pittsburgh shouldn’t be over but, and there’s nonetheless extra to offer, the tremors of the transfer that introduced him to the Penguins are nonetheless being felt in the present day in 2020. Let’s have a look again at how buying Hornqvist has led to a great deal of success for the Penguins.
Hornqvist Delivered to Pittsburgh
After the 2013-14 season, ahead James Neal had run his course in Pittsburgh. Neal had change into nice mates with linemate Evgeni Malkin, posted a 40-goal season in 2011-12, and made his solely All-Star Recreation that very same yr. After that season, a brand new contract that Neal signed value $5 million in cap hit lasting six years was about to begin.
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The contract had a modified no-trade clause that was set to kick in for the 2015-16 season. Aiming for additional cap house and a roster overhaul, Neal was moved earlier than the clause may begin making him tougher to maneuver.
In his first commerce solely 20 days after being employed because the Penguins’ new normal supervisor, Jim Rutherford despatched Neal to the Predators for Hornqvist and Nick Spalling. Whereas we all know what Hornqvist has finished for the staff, it’s Spalling we’re going to deal with for a second.
The Hornqvist Commerce Nonetheless Paying Off
Spalling performed in all 82 video games of the 2014-15 common season, and all 5 playoff video games. After recording 9 targets and 18 assists for 27 factors, he was packaged with Scott Harrington, Kasperi Kapanen, and some draft picks for Phil Kessel. Whereas different items got here with Kessel, he was the one one which noticed NHL time with the Penguins.
The time Kessel spent in Pittsburgh was principally profitable. He was an enormous a part of the 2016 and 2017 Cup run, in addition to being within the high three of staff scoring each season. Earlier than becoming a member of the Penguins, Kessel was extra identified for his scoring potential and being an iron man by by no means lacking a sport. Whereas his iron man streak stayed intact in Pittsburgh, he grew to become one of many Penguins finest playmakers. Twice he would set private data in help numbers, choosing up 47 assists in 2016-17, then 58 the next season.
As issues started to soar between the Penguins and Kessel, it was his time to maneuver on. The Penguins despatched Kessel to the Arizona Coyotes for Alex Galchenyuk and defensive prospect Pierre-Olivier Joseph.
Earlier than we go into element on Galchenyuk, it must be famous that Joseph is one of many high defensive prospects presently boasted by the Penguins. The group is trying ahead to Joseph getting his likelihood within the NHL and turning into a extremely expert blueliner for years to return.
There was numerous pleasure for Galchenyuk to affix the Penguins and have a little bit of success alongside Malkin. It was shortly realized that Galchenyuk was not going to reside as much as his expectations. Dropping to the fourth line and every now and then being a wholesome scratch for the staff, the Penguins wanted to maneuver him and transfer him quick.
Rutherford discovered a taker on Galchenyuk within the Minnesota Wild; he was packaged with prospect Calen Addison and a first-round choose in return for Jason Zucker. And that’s the place we discover ourselves in the present day. Rutherford successfully turned Spalling into Zucker and located nice success alongside the way in which.
Going ahead, Zucker goes to be an thrilling participant for the Penguins. His scoring potential ought to mesh properly with whoever he performs with between Malkin or Sidney Crosby. To this point, Zucker has performed in 15 video games with the Penguins and racked up 12 factors between 6 targets and 6 assists. Zucker has a contract that may final three extra seasons and he may pan out to be among the best acquisitions Rutherford has made because the Penguins’ normal supervisor.
To be clear, Hornqvist shouldn’t be the foundation of this commerce tree. He’s only a hefty department that stems from the Penguins buying Johan Hedberg in 2001 for Jeff Norton. The way in which the transfer of buying Hornqvist has shaken out, it appears to be like to be one of the crucial vital strikes made in staff historical past.
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With out sending Neal to the Predators, the Penguins don’t get Hornqvist, and subsequently won’t have gotten Kessel or Zucker. With out Kessel or Hornqvist it’s fairly uncertain that the Penguins change into Stanley Cup Champions in 2016 and 2017.
Not even two weeks after this preliminary story was revealed, the commerce tree involving Hornqvist sprouted a brand new department. On Sept. 24, 2020 Hornqvist was despatched to the Florida Panthers for Mike Matheson and Colton Sceviour.
A commerce that was met with backlash from followers, the Hornqvist deal initially regarded prefer it may repay for the Penguins. The staff gained a youthful, speedy defenseman in Matheson who has a capability to supply offence regardless of some defensive shortcomings. In the meantime, the ahead depth was going to be examined for each staff in the course of the 2020-21 NHL season, and Sceviour was one of many names the Penguins hoped would fill that function.
The primary reasoning behind sending out Hornqvist lies within the staff’s deal with getting youthful an quicker. If that’s all they got down to accomplish then good. Matheson is seven years youthful and positively carries quicker foot velocity. Hornqvist additionally carries the burden of being an damage inclined participant. With a number of concussions on his docs record, it’s not preferrred to maintain an ageing participant round who has a knack for ache.
For the reason that commerce, every participant has had their very own degree of success. Is it time to choose a winner or loser of the commerce?
Matheson with the Penguins
Beginning with the Penguins additions, Matheson and Sceviour had been one of many final offers made by Rutherford earlier than he jumped ship. Positive, it’s just a little poetic Rutherford’s tenure in Pittsburgh was nearly bookended with a Hornqvist deal, however this one was not properly acquired.
Matheson makes $4.875 million towards the wage cap and lasts till 2025-26. For just a little context, Sidney Crosby’s contract expires the yr prior. It was Matheson’s bloated contract, and the very fact it despatched away a fan favourite in Hornqvist that compelled the critics’ fingers.
Trying previous the cap hit, nevertheless, Matheson hasn’t been completely terrible in Pittsburgh. He and Cody Ceci had been one of many staff’s largest surprises all through the 2020-21 season as they molded into a gradual second line pairing. Matheson himself in 44 video games scored 5 targets, 11 assists, and 16 factors. Not dangerous for a second line defenseman, who averaged 18:38 of ice-time and hit a profession excessive +9 score. By way of the primary 27 video games of the 2021-22 season, he has scored three targets and 9 assists for 12 factors.
The Matheson expertise is a curler coaster of feelings for Pens followers. He can go from blowing a defensive protection and giving up an odd-man break to creating offensive strain within the matter of 1 shift. He’s getting paid some huge cash however the Penguins have discovered a approach to make it work.
Sceviour’s One Yr in Pittsburgh
Sceviour then again, performed the final yr of his contract with the Penguins and skipped city throughout free company. With the Penguins, he performed in 46 video games amassing 5 targets and 5 assists for 10 factors. He averaged 9:35 of ice time and never a lot else to talk of. He spent the entire season coasting across the taxi squad and fourth line. The Penguins didn’t re-sign him and despatched him to free company the place he picked up a one-year, two-way contract with the Edmonton Oilers.
In 20 video games with the Oilers, Sceviour has two targets and an help for 3 factors.
Hornqvist in Florida
Now to the primary occasion; What has Hornqvist been as much as since leaving the Penguins? He’s been a distinguished veteran face with the Panthers. In 2020-21, he scored 14 targets and 18 assists for 32 factors. Not dangerous for a 34-year-old who scored the identical quantity of factors in his closing season with the Penguins in fewer video games. For the 2021-22 season in Florida, he has performed in 29 video games with 4 targets and 9 assists for 13 factors.
Selecting a winner or loser of a commerce is all the time tough as a result of each groups imagine they acquired a internet constructive. For what it’s value, each the Penguins and Panthers have excelled with what they acquired. The Penguins gained a fast, offensive, albeit costly defender who matches the defensive scheme fairly properly. The Panthers pulled in a veteran who may also help lead his staff stuffed with younger stars and acquire notoriety as a staff to be feared in a non-traditional hockey market.
Rather a lot has modified with the Penguins on the ice and within the entrance workplace since Hornqvist arrived in 2014. Shockingly, much more has modified since his departure in in 2020. It’s secure to say each groups have discovered methods to make the most of their new weapons and win video games in an period of the league that has seen extra velocity bumps than ever earlier than.
Nick Horwat is a graduate of Level Park College and was born and raised in Pittsburgh. A lifelong Penguins fan that has been watching and going to video games for so long as he can keep in mind.