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Hornqvist Bruised and Blindsided by Trade, ‘Pittsburgh Didn’t Want Me’

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Pittsburgh Penguins Patric Hornqvist

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.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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Stephen Powanda
Stephen Powanda
10 months ago

Players in Pens locker room need to grow up and do their damn job.

Jay95
Jay95
10 months ago

They will. They always have. They’re not coming out publicly and saying anything. But, I’ve lost teammates due to things like this and it’s really HARD personally.

The knee jerk trade of Hagelin, The EXACT tye of player that the Pens are searching for, letting Cole walk, Watching Fleury go, and now Hornqvist…these things take a toll on the players morale. Especially when they’re done in the name of a “shakeup” that really isn’t necessary.

Vittorio DiStazio Jr
Vittorio DiStazio Jr
10 months ago
Reply to  Jay95

When Hagelin was traded it was because Jr said the team was feeling to comfortable, that because they had won 2 cups it gave them the right to take nights off Besides he wasn’t producing so you tell me is it fair to have a winger who can’t produce and all he is good for is a “emotional leader”?

Jay95
Jay95
10 months ago

No. Because there is more to a players game than simply putting up points. Hagelin was, and is, the type of player that’s useful even if the numbers aren’t there. He drives possession, is ACTUALLY good defensively, and gives a huge spark with his speed.

GMJR had “his reason” which still doesn’t mean that it was the correct decision. And, as we’re seeing his reasoning is inconsistent at best.

Vittorio
Vittorio
10 months ago
Reply to  Jay95

Useful as what? Guy who gives a speech to motivate his teammates. All the things you mentioned are good but if you don’t produce your basically a 4th liner and at that point your okay with keeping what is basically an older version of Simon? His reason was fair. The team was to laid back, not caring about most games and just sleepwalking through them.

How else do you try and spark the team when the team decides that after Back 2 Back cups that there untouchable?

Jay95
Jay95
10 months ago
Reply to  Vittorio

I understand your point about “usefulness” and I think that Simon is a decent comparison. But, not just the room with Hags. There were things that he brought that Simon doesn’t, and vice versa. The things that they do similar, that I think are extremely valuable, is the play in their play in the neutral zone. Both players are great at make small, nuanced, plays that you have to see live to notice. Simon is BY FAR a better passer and better value, but Hagelin is tremendous at puck retrieval. His speed is elite. It lead to pressure and his… Read more »

Vittorio
Vittorio
10 months ago
Reply to  Jay95

That is where the problem lies. You just confirmed my reason as to why Hags got dealt. These are your words ” But when he’s playing the guys around him don’t have to work as hard”. The Pens got lazy, they felt that because they won back to back cups that they could take it easy. I’m sorry did any of the players really think the opposition wouldn’t try to knock the crown off your head and humble you?

Matt Schmidt
Matt Schmidt
10 months ago

This blows. They’re not going to be happy until they suck every ounce of personality out of that dressing room.

Jay95
Jay95
10 months ago
Reply to  Matt Schmidt

I just responded above about this. The players will obviously play. But, the veterans just lost Billy G too. That had to hurt as he was one of the boys too. Also, though a certain amount of shakeup was needed with the coaches…and, Recchi probably needed to go…the loss of Gonchar is going to be a tough blow to guys.

Jeff Arnold
Jeff Arnold
10 months ago

Can we trade the GM??

hockeynut87
hockeynut87
10 months ago

Great article Dan. Hurts to hear Horny was blindsided…just not right to do that to him. He will be missed by his teammates for sure. At least he is staying positive on playing with Florida…best of luck to him in his future. GMJR has a lot of fixing to do with the this Pens team. He has lost my faith in him.

David Stoebe
David Stoebe
10 months ago

Oh no, a player on a sports team got traded. Almost as heartbreaking as one leaving for more money elsewhere. Sniff sniff…..

Jay95
Jay95
10 months ago

I think the biggest issue with this trade is simple…Rutherford is making moves just to make moves. When, in all honesty, if this team had played a full season the playoffs look so much different. Outside of that, if johnson sits, and you stock with McCann, this series STILL could have been won. So, off-season moves could have been simple…move JJ and Murray for cap space. “possibly” move Bjugstad out…although he’s the only proven 3rd line center at a reasonable price, and find a value RHD for 3rd pair. I’m ok with the Kap trade. I’m actually ok with trading… Read more »

Vittorio DiStazio Jr
Vittorio DiStazio Jr
10 months ago
Reply to  Jay95

Value for a RHD for the Pens 3rd pair, what are you high or something? those type of D-man are those that are near the end or at the end. You want a good RHD then the asking price will be about 4.5-5 million at minimum.

Jay95
Jay95
10 months ago

Lol. There are plenty of solid NHL D men that are signed for 2-3 million. And, who cares if he’s nearing the end of his career. You don’t need to spend a lot on a 3rd pairing D in his prime. If he’s nearing the end of his career and that’s why he’s cheap…AWESOME! That means that he’ll most likely have the ability to jump up into the top 4 if needed.

Vittorio
Vittorio
10 months ago
Reply to  Jay95

Seriously Jay are you outside your mind? You would rather have a D-Man on the cheap side who is literally at the end than to try and find guys are who 5x better, where is the logic in that?

Jay95
Jay95
10 months ago
Reply to  Vittorio

No. Though, I can see how it looks like that. What I meant is that I’d rather still have Hornqvist and a cheaper RHD on the third pair for this season. But, that’s also because I don’t trust what Rutherford does next. I feel like he’s going to move Peterson instead of Johnson for cap space. I guess I would prefer Johnson moved, Hornqvist kept, Riikola to play the left on the 3rd pair, and a relatively cheap D man on the right. But, a lot of that has to do with JR’s next move. If he moves Johnson to… Read more »

Vittorio
Vittorio
10 months ago
Reply to  Jay95

Horny was 33 and his style didn’t fit the team anymore so unless HQ could change his style he had to get moved. MP is not going anywhere as JR has named as a untouchable. He will resign his RFA’s and then use WBS guys to fill out the rest.

mike71
mike71
10 months ago

look, I have loved having hornqvist the last 6 years and he was absolutely critical in getting things turned around for the back to backs, but every article goes on about how he’s the emotional leader and heart of the team. but what is the emotional leader of a group that plays with no emotion worth? after 2 embarrassing playoff exits it’s pretty clear no one is paying attention to his leadership and heart anymore and at 33 with the head injuries piling up, this is probably the best time to move on.

Frank
Frank
10 months ago

What drama! It is a business. I am sorry that the $80,000,000 payroll is sulking and sad. I guess it is hard to understand that expectations come from the guys who write the paychecks and fans who cough up silly amounts of money to pay those poor souls. I think Patric was awesome while here and if memory serves me he got a $5,000,000 “thanks” for doing what he was paid to do. Athletes have some nonsensical view that things are owed to them. They should count their blessings each and every day. Good grief! No wonder athletes in all… Read more »

Lynchie
Lynchie
10 months ago

Patrick said it. He is going to a team that wants him. He was a known factor in exchange we got a player who never measured up to potential has a 6 year contract and is just another left hand shot. there is something wrong with the current culture. They play with little emotion. this is a trade with little up side and with Gonchar gone who is going to mentor and make him better. Look at the last couple of years. Kessel, Fleury, Cole and what did we get in exchange…..not much

Jay95
Jay95
10 months ago
Reply to  Lynchie

To be fair Kessel was obviously dragging Malkin down. As in, it was causing him constant stress. So, I’m ok with that return. Fleury and Cole were held onto for runs and left as we knew they would.

That said, Cole was undervalued by Sullivan and was an awesome presence. Gonch’s presence will be missed too. I have to wonder how long Sullivan and Jarry get along since Jarry’s another “playful” personality like Cole, Hornqvist, Reeves, Flower…

concerned penguin fan
concerned penguin fan
10 months ago
Reply to  Jay95

kessel dragging malkin down? nahh hardly malkin has been butt hurt since his buddy james neal got traded. Geno i see a big baby when things don’t go his way we see it plain as day the way he plays. He has been treated like a russian prince his whole life has a sky high attitude of entitlement same with letang

Jay95
Jay95
10 months ago

It’s well documented that both Sullivan and Kessel were using Malkin as the “middle man” as soon as Tochet left. With that, Geno never once said anything negative about Phil or Sully. He also never publicly put the Penguins down for trading Neal. The media claimed that he wasn’t happy, but that never once showed in his play or how he handled it.

Ed Andrews
Ed Andrews
10 months ago

So what did this trade accomplish, a little cap releaf and a so so LD (very reminese of the Brassard deal), and a unknown center Colton Sceviour at 33yr. damn they should of asked for Brian Boyle to at least he has some grit and is a big body as a 3rd or 4th line ctr withe at least 10 to 15 goals a year.

Jay95
Jay95
10 months ago
Reply to  Ed Andrews

Oh, Colton Sceviour is definitely a known. And, what’s known isn’t very pretty unfortunately. With a healthy lineup he should never see the ice. Actually, he’s more suited to be a 14th forward on a two way contract.

David
David
10 months ago

Always sad to see veterans who were a part of championships go. But at 33 HQ did seem to be wearing down a bit. I’m taking a wait and see on this one — I was sad to see Kessel go but look at the dismal season he had with Arizona. I’m more sad that they fired Gonchar — WTF? Fans have to realize that we have been very blessed to have the big stars we have had starting with Mario and Jagr, down to Crosby and Malkin. Enjoy the rest of it while it lasts. In 3-4 years the… Read more »

David
David
10 months ago

I would be interested to know why Florida could not get insurance on HQ’s contract. I assume all teams have insurance on all contracts, or at least on the big ones. Why is HQ so hard to insure? Seems to me that there may be an issue here.

Joe Pietropaolo
Joe Pietropaolo
10 months ago

GMJR isn’t done yet.
These moves are not done blindly (I hope) but it still stings to lose a fan fave and a great teammate.
Is it purely Rutherford or is he getting advice from others within the O?
Mike Matheson is a former 2012 1st round draft pick at #23 overall. Maybe playing behind Aaron Ekblad and Keith Yandle hurt his development? He has the tools/ talent.
Like Justin Schultz, I think Matheson will find his potential here. Too bad Coach Gonchar is no longer around to help.

Ed Andrews
Ed Andrews
10 months ago

I dont know this has JR being an ass action, he is still trying to justify the JJ trade and contract, so another left defense JJ moves back to Right and will be paired with Mathison, JR is not going to move Johnson, I have no ill will toward Johnson he is what he is and has done his job butI hope there is more to this, Most of us knew Horn or letang was going to get moved because of their contracts but I dont trust JR his trade have been terrible since the kessel trade and marino

Jay
Jay
10 months ago

Oh, he’s done. Done in Pittsburgh that is. Anyone could “GM” the way Jim Rutherford does. Go to a team that has most of the pieces in place to win a cup, then trade all of their future assets for the remaining couple of pieces. Then, because every asset they have is depleted, and there are no young players left to take over (they’ve all been traded), they will inevitably sink into half a decade or more of mediocrity. Wonder where he’ll land next. There’s got to be a team with a poor pedigree that would trade a cup or… Read more »

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[…] winning two Stanley Cups and was a celebrity in the Penguins locker room. Pittsburgh Hockey Now Hornquist reported learning of the trade From media reports and his penguins colleagues were angry about the trade before being asked to […]

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