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PENGUINS TRADE LIMBO: Hornqvist to FLA for Matheson, Waiting…

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Pittsburgh Penguins trade, Patric Hornqvist, Mike Matheson

As of 1:30 p.m., the Pittsburgh Penguins trade with the Florida Panthers is still on hold. Wednesday morning, Penguins GM Jim Rutherford completed the latest Penguins trade when he agreed to ship the two-time Stanley Cup winner, RW Patric Hornqvist to the Florida Panthers for left-side defenseman Mike Matheson.

UPDATE: According to a team source, the trade has been held up as the Penguins have been unable to reach Hornqvist to affirm the trade. Hornqvist has a full no-trade clause. Later, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported the deal was delayed due to insurance holdups. And, finally, the Penguins source confirmed to PHN the insurance issue and the lack of contact were connected.

On the surface, it may be a perplexing deal that doesn’t create salary-cap space for the Pittsburgh Penguins. If the trade goes through, Matheson, 26, will become the fifth left-handed defenseman on the Penguins NHL roster. His contract extends for six more seasons at an AAV of $4.825 million.

Hornqvist, 33, has three more seasons remaining at $5.3 million. So, the Penguins trade would save the team less than $500,000 per year.

Matheson has a modified eight-team no-trade-clause, but it will not kick in until the next offseason, according to CapFriendly.com.

Hornqvist has been a staple in front of the opponent’s net since the Penguins acquired him for popular winger James Neal in the summer of 2014. It was Rutherford’s first trade as GM of the Pittsburgh Penguins. This season, Hornqvist scored 16 goals in 52 games.

Matheson is a mobile, puck-moving left-handed defenseman who can run a power play. He scored 20 points (8g, 12a) in 59 games this season and averaged just over 18 minutes per game.

The Point-Claire, QC native, was Florida’s first-round pick in 2012 (23rd overall) and played one season in the USHL and three seasons at Boston College.

In recent seasons, Florida Hockey Now reports Matheson has been hampered by confidence issues that have submarined his effectiveness. The 6-foot-2, 188-pound defenseman is an offensive D-man but has struggled to defend, especially in recent seasons. He was a healthy scratch for Games 3 and 4 of the Florida Qualifying Round loss to the New York Islanders.

“Some Florida Panthers fans might simply refer to him as a disaster,” National Hockey Now reporter Rob Simpson wrote from the Toronto bubble in August.

Matheson’s contract is also backloaded, which would fall on the Penguins. He has been paid only $7 million of his $39 million contract. His actual salary will balloon to $6.5 million in the final three seasons of the deal, including three consecutive $2.5 million bonuses.

In four-plus NHL seasons, Matheson has played 299 games, scored 91 points (33g, 58a), and is a combined minus-30. In 2018-19, Matheson committed an ungodly 135 turnovers but limited that number to only 54 this season.  Observers around the Panthers and inside the organization still have a lot of hope for him to resurrect his career.

Hornqvist famously scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal in Game 6 of the 2017 Stanley Cup Final.

The move would seem to open the Penguins to additional action, as the team now has a glut of left-side defensemen. Brian Dumoulin, Marcus-Pettersson, Jack Johnson, and Juusso Riikola are currently on the NHL roster, and top prospect Pierre-Olivier Joseph is close to being NHL-ready.

PHN will have more analysis shortly and when the news becomes official.

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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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Jeff Arnold
Jeff Arnold
1 year ago

Unless this is a move to make another move we may as well have traded for Brassard again

Ed Andrews
Ed Andrews (@eandrews)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Arnold

true but Brassard played good for the NY Islander makes you wonder WTF is going on with the pens. Damn if it was Nurse I would be ok but Matheson by himself (Get Boyle) and no cap relief. Ugh

Katz
Katz (@paul)
1 year ago

So the only net front presence on a Perimeter team trades for a soft Left handed D man that was a scratch for the franchises two most important games. And his contract is backloaded? Mario you watching your franchise swirling around the bowl ?

Ricardo58
Ricardo58
1 year ago
Reply to  Katz

Thank you for your reply. It saved me some time. Good grief.

Rich Filardi
Rich Filardi (@richi81)
1 year ago

Please take the Keys away, in the end- it will end badly

Bill L
Bill L
1 year ago

Somebody needs to rip the phone out of Rutherford’s hand. This would be awful.

John
John
1 year ago

this seems like a terrible trade…is this a joke? hopefully…please…..

Hatrick Pornqvist
Hatrick Pornqvist (@hatrick-pornqvist)
1 year ago

Either JJ or Pettersson has to be leaving town if this is happening. Are we going to see Pettersson traded so we can bring in Tanev now?

longdongsilver
longdongsilver
1 year ago

If there is no additional movement on cap space that hasn’t been shared with the public yet, you have to ask… what is wrong with Rutherford? Is he desperate or just out of touch?

Hatrick Pornqvist
Hatrick Pornqvist (@hatrick-pornqvist)
1 year ago

Does this mean I have to change my name to Math Mikeson?

mstar80
mstar80
1 year ago

That’s good!

Jesse
Jesse
1 year ago

This is not a necessary trade. Horny is one of the best in the dirty spots around opposing goalie creases, and we dont need anymore defensemen (unless they get rid of JJ and his god awful contract). This article didn’t even mention that fact. We lost to a shitty team on account of not caring, not because of our D.

Brian
Brian
1 year ago

Just say NO Patrick Hornqvist (please)! GMJR seems intent on getting younger, faster, and easier to play against. Not sure how that philosophy will get us back to the playoffs.

Doug Ukish
Doug Ukish (@dyna92)
1 year ago

Yikes!
There better be something good coming out of all this.
I loved the way Horny played

Cal
Cal
1 year ago

I hope this is a trade and flip. Last thing the team needs is another no hitter

Joe Pietropaolo
Joe Pietropaolo
1 year ago

Awful, just awful…makes absolutely no sense whatsoever…

Timm
Timm
1 year ago

Nooooooooooooo! Sully’s words at the playoffs were that Hornqvist was an integral part of the team, not only on the ice but in the locker room. “Everyone does better when he’s around”. He’s the only forward with any grit. Malkin is all temper.

Matheson does seem like a guy who could be incredible with proper coaching, but another lefty D is the last thing we need. Especially if they’re also going after Chris Tanev. A Tanev tandem would be SICK!

Also, my Hornqvist jersey is going to be worthless now. Thanks a lot GMJR!

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