On Wednesday, the Pittsburgh Penguins tried to trade winger Patric Hornqvist. The team needed Hornqvist’s approval, and the player took some time on Wednesday to consider waiving his no-trade clause. Wednesday ended without the Penguins trade completed, as the Florida Panthers could not get insurance on Hornqvist’s contract.
Thursday, the teams successfully tried again. It seems the Penguins and GM Jim Rutherford accepted forward Colton Sceviour and his $1.2 million contract to balance Florida’s lack of insurance. The Penguins now have about $6.1 million to sign RFA goalie Tristan Jarry, and two forwards (not counting a cap cushion for short term injury callups).
Hornqvist, who makes a living taking a beating from opposing defensemen, seems to have been bruised by the Penguins. As usual, Hornqvist didn’t hold back on his Friday media call with the Florida Panthers.
“Once I found out Pittsburgh didn’t want me and Florida really wants me, it was an easy choice for me and my family,” Hornqvist said.
It was the follow-up question from our sister site, Florida Hockey Now, which shed more light on the situation which unfolded on Wednesday as the hockey world waited and watched.
“It was obviously a tough decision for me and my family when you get blindsided a little bit,” he said. “When you have a no-trade, you don’t think this kind of question is going to come up. When it did, I really took my time to really go through every scenario. At the end of the day, it boiled down to one team that really wants you, and the other does not want you. That made my decision so much easier.
“I can’t wait to get down to South Florida, start playing games and helping this team win.”
While Hornqvist, 33, did not publicly confirm it, Pittsburgh Hockey Now believes that Hornqvist found out about the trade from media reports before the team spoke with him. Late Wednesday morning, NHL Network Analyst Kevin Weekes began the reporting frenzy with a Tweet.
The entire process seemed to leave Hornqvist a little salty.
“I know I bring energy and leadership, play hard every shift, and that’s not going to change no matter the jersey I am wearing,” Patric Hornqvist said.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now also continues to hear adverse reactions from the Penguins players.
The Hornqvist situation is similar to trade talks surrounding Phil Kessel in the summer of 2019. Rutherford agreed in principle to a deal with the Minnesota Wild, which centered on receiving Jason Zucker in return. Rutherford hoped to persuade Kessel to accept a trade to Minnesota, but Kessel took several days before he declined it.
In this case, Hornqvist admitted the Penguins trade ask was enough to send a message, but he was happy to be wanted somewhere else.
“When I talked to (Florida Panthers GM Bill Zito), I really got a good feeling. He’s a good GM and a good person,” Hornqvist said. “He said they brought me here because of what I bring every single day. He said I could play a big role for us on and of the ice. That’s what I want. It made my choice much easier.”
Hornqvist scored 16 goals and 32 points in 52 games this season. He spent six seasons with the Penguins, won two Stanley Cups, and Rutherford credited the rambunctious Swede with redefining the Penguins.
“He changed the culture,” Rutherford said.
And now Patric Hornqvist will try to change the Florida Panthers culture. And based on internal reactions, the Penguins locker room will deeply miss him.