SUNRISE, Fla – Standby for take two, everyone.
Following Wednesday’s frenzy of speculation after reports of a trade between the Florida Panthers and Pittsburgh Penguins, and subsequent potential breakdown of said trade, the two sides have finally dotted the T’s and crossed the I’s.
Florida officially acquired forward Patric Hornqvist on Thursday, sending the Penguins defenseman Mike Matheson and forward Colton Sceviour.
Rumors of the trade began with a report by Kevin Weekes of NHL Network, but he may have gotten word of the trade at a very early stage, as there was no mention of any players other than Matheson and Hornqvist.
It quickly became evident that there was still some work to be done, with Pittsburgh reportedly having a difficult time tracking down Hornqvist at first, as he needed to waive his no-trade clause in order for the deal to happen, and complications with insuring Hornqvist’s contract in case of injury, which reportedly was not covered.
Fast forward around 24 hours and with the deal now complete, clearly there was a bit more nuance than initially believed as a third player ended up being part of the deal.
On the surface, this trade appears to be a big win for Florida and could very well end up benefiting both teams.
Matheson has all the ability in the world but has struggled putting it all together. A change of scenery to a place like Pittsburgh, with its winning traditions and strong veteran presence, and under the guidance of Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan, one of the best in the game, could help turn things around for the former first round pick.
Sceviour heading to Pittsburgh is a little frosting on the Pens' cake for taking on Matheson’s contract. An extremely reliable player that can slot anywhere in the bottom nine, kill penalties and add some secondary scoring, Sceviour has just one year left on his deal at $1.2 million, which is a bargain for what he’ll add to the Penguins lineup.
“On behalf of the Florida Panthers organization, I would like to thank Mike and Colton for their contributions to the organization over the past several seasons,” Panthers General Manager Bill Zito said in a team press release. “We wish both them and their families well in all of their future endeavors.”
Florida, meanwhile, unloads the six years and $29.2 million remaining on Matheson’s backloaded contract, which has become a boon in Sunrise thanks to the decline in the 26-year-old’s play.
They also take on veteran forward Patric Hornqvist, his strong scoring ability, two Stanley Cups and nearly 770 games of NHL experience. There are three years and $15.9 million left on the 33-year-old’s contract.
“A proven winner and champion, Patric brings a level of competition to our club,” said Zito. “He is a talented veteran presence who plays with an edge and we look forward to what he can add to our group.”
Is there risk there? Absolutely. Hornqvist has battled injuries in recent years, including multiple concussions.
His style of play, which is tough as nails and creates havoc in front of the net and other dirty areas of the ice, makes it easy to understand the reported issues with Florida wanting to confirm that Hornqvist’s contact would be insured in case of injury.
During his 12-year career, Hornqvist has accumulated 480 points (238-242-480), 149 of which have come while skating on the power play.
His addition will add some depth and perhaps a new dimension to the Panthers' man advantage, which could lead to some changes in how it’s deployed.
Hornqvist, who aside from his on-ice success has also been known throughout his career as a great locker room guy, could be an indication of the kind of players that Zito will be collecting in South Florida.
So far, it’s a solid start.