Who Wins the Hornqvist-Matheson Commerce?

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Florida will get a battle-scarred vet, Pittsburgh takes an opportunity on a struggling defenseman.Michael Matheson. Photograph by Robert Mayer-USA TODAY SportsThe Pittsburgh Penguins have swung one other deal, however will it pan out for the franchise? GM Jim Rutherford has by no means been afraid to maneuver gamers and in his newest swap, he has despatched veteran proper winger Patric Hornqvist to the Florida Panthers in alternate for defenseman Michael Matheson and utility ahead Colton Sceviour.Rutherford has been making an attempt to increase Pittsburgh’s Stanley Cup window as a lot as he can whereas all-world facilities Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are nonetheless taking part in at an elite stage, however the latest outcomes have been diminishing returns: the Penguins have been swept within the first spherical of the 2019 playoffs by the Islanders, then knocked out of the qualifying spherical this season by the lowly Habs.Lots of Rutherford’s latest strikes have concerned buying and selling away draft picks and younger gamers, however this deal sees the veteran Hornqvist altering addresses.In Hornqvist, the Panthers get a sturdy net-front presence who could be very powerful to battle towards within the corners. The proper winger has two Cup rings from his tenure in Pittsburgh, however he has battled accidents in recent times and hasn’t performed a full 82-game schedule since 2015-16.If the hardened Swede can keep wholesome, he’ll carry a really good dimension to Florida, the place the Panthers have already got ace producers equivalent to Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau. Hornqvist’s acquisition additionally makes it very laborious to image Florida re-signing pending unrestricted free brokers Mike Hoffman and Evgenii Dadonov. It does, nevertheless, usher in some extra inner competitors for rookie hopefuls Grigori Denisenko and Owen Tippett. Hornqvist’s contract runs for one more three seasons with a cap hit of $5.three million.”Patric brings a stage of competitors to our membership,” mentioned GM Invoice Zito. “He’s a proficient veteran presence who performs with an edge and we sit up for what he can add to our group.”This additionally marks the primary commerce made by Zito, who only recently took over as GM of the Panthers.There’s threat within the deal for Florida, however the Penguins have much more to lose. Matheson, the primary cog on Pittsburgh’s finish, was a wholesome scratch for half of Florida’s 4 qualifying spherical video games (a sequence misplaced to the Islanders) and averaged a little bit greater than 13 minutes of ice time within the video games he did play. Matheson wasn’t trusted with any defensive zone faceoffs in these contests, but nonetheless had a number of the poorest possession numbers on the workforce. Turnovers have been an issue as properly.Having mentioned that, the hope in Pittsburgh is clearly {that a} change of surroundings would do Matheson properly. In any case, he’s a cell puckmover with measurement who performs with an edge. The opposite caveat nevertheless is Matheson’s contract: it runs till the summer season of 2026 with a cap hit of almost $4.9 million. For a Penguins workforce already in a good spot cap-wise, he isn’t a cut price.Pittsburgh at the moment has roughly $5 million in cap area and Rutherford nonetheless must signal RFA goalies Matt Murray and Tristan Jarry (or commerce one) and both re-sign defenseman Justin Schultz or discover his substitute. There have additionally been rumblings that star blueliner Kris Letang does not see himself being stored round, which might liberate cap area – however blow a large gap within the workforce’s core.In Sceviour, the Penguins get a defensive function participant who can chip in on the penalty-kill however will not present any offense. As a minimum, he has a really manageable $1.2 million cap hit with only one yr left till unrestricted free company.All in all, there’s threat on this commerce for each franchises. Pittsburgh definitely has extra to lose and if judging the deal on whether or not the Penguins seem like a more durable playoff out now than they did yesterday, this isn’t a winner for them.

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