Broken by Kevin Weekes, the Penguins have reportedly moved Patric Hornqvist on to Florida in exchange for Mike Matheson.
** Breaking News**
— Kevin Weekes (@KevinWeekes) September 23, 2020
Now, Friedman and Lebrun are reporting that the deal isn’t finalized yet and there are some hiccups, but we’re going to operate under the assumption that it’s 1) one-for-one and 2) going to get over the line and will update accordingly.
For whatever reason, I'm told this trade hasn't gone through yet. Not sure if it has to do with the fact Hornqvist has a full no-trade clause or not. https://t.co/EBdTuKXQv6
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) September 23, 2020
I’m told there’s a “glitch” with the FLA/PIT trade. It was definitely in progress. We will see if it gets worked out.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) September 23, 2020
UPDATE (6:15 PM 9/23/20)
Elliotte Friedman expanded on the “glitch” a little bit in a post that can be read here.
Some important details:
The two teams were considering it, and, from what I understand, there were two hurdles. The first was Hornqvist’s no-trade. The second is his contract. The Panthers had concerns about insurance in case of injury, and would the winger’s deal be covered?
Friedman mentions Florida GM Bill Zito’s experience in Columbus with Nathan Horton’s contract as being the cause for the concern with respect to the insurance.
He goes on:
Whatever the case, it sounds like the news got out before either issue was settled. One hurdle would be challenging enough…but two? Big problem. Tough for the teams and the players involved, because you don’t want this getting out if you can’t pull it off.
This second part is increasingly troublesome. Letting the trade get out before both of the finer details are ironed out is a problem. It’s anyone’s guess what impact this has on both players mentally, but it lets them both know they could or are being moved.
Whether the trade goes through or not, it’s hard to imagine that today won’t leave a sour taste in either player’s mouth. Just a tough look all around for everyone.
UPDATE: 5:05 PM, 9/24/20
With the wrinkles ironed out, the Penguins officially announced the deal, which also included Colton Sceviour coming to Pittsburgh:
TRADE ALERT! 🚨
The Penguins have acquired defenseman Mike Matheson and forward Colton Sceviour from the Florida Panthers in exchange for Patric Hornqvist.
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) September 24, 2020
Info on Sceviour can be found at the end of this post.
Back to the (original) deal….
Hornqvist, 33, has a cap hit of $5.3M for the next three seasons, while Matheson, 26, has a cap hit of $4.875M for the next six seasons.
NHL GMs are a bunch of lunatics. absolute madmen. https://t.co/uzTtqcRzMV
— Sean Gentille (@seangentille) September 23, 2020
Matheson, a left shot defenseman, has seen his ice time drop over the past 4 seasons to becoming a 3rd pair guy on the Panthers.
Historically, his individual impact can be classified as underwhelming. He’s not been a particularly good defender and has been a drag on offense.
Note: Matheson played some games at forward this season for the Panthers, which could explain some of his upticks.
However, this season was a little bit better. He still managed to contribute very little to the offensive side of the game, but wasn’t a total liability defensively. His penalty killing could use some improvement, too.
In the minutes tracked, Matheson finds himself in the top 25% in terms of shots and shot contributions per hour of play. He’s very good at carrying the puck into the zone and is above average at exiting his own zone.
Over the course of his career, he’s pretty consistently found himself below the 50% threshold of shares of shot attempts, unblocked, attempts, shots on goal, goals, expected goals, scoring chances, and high danger chances, but perhaps you could chalk that up to being on the Panthers.
However, relative to the rest of his teammates at 5v5, in most cases the Panthers generated more offense and allowed less events per hour defensively when Matheson left the ice (via Natural Stat Trick):
|Matheson – 5v5- Relative to Team||Rate per 60 minutes|
|Unblocked Attempts For||-0.66|
|Unblocked Attempts Against||1.37|
|Shots on Goal For||-0.62|
|Shots on Goal Against||0.36|
|Expected Goals For||-0.26|
|Expected Goals Against||0.04|
|Scoring Chances For||-1.49|
|Scoring Chances Against||1.26|
On one hand, it’s less than ideal to see your team get better when you get off the ice. On the other, these aren’t drastic swings in either direction if we’re looking to be a little optimistic here.
Contract aside, if he’s a straight swap into the Penguins 3rd pair, replacing Johnson on the ice, it’s hard to imagine this not being an upgrade (though, so is Juuso Riikola). There’s a curious disconnect between his microstats (transition data) and his on-ice results, so that will be something to keep an eye on.
Hornqvist is old and worn down, but still likely provides some value in a middle six with his goal-scoring and play-driving ability.
Matheson is younger, but hasn't shown enough to be considered a top four guy and is being paid too much for too long for what he provides. pic.twitter.com/ZoF7Q9FADa
— dom luszczyszyn (@domluszczyszyn) September 23, 2020
The more important thing here is what GMJR does next to open up the roster and cap space. Before this, they had just over $6M in cap space with Jarry, Simon, and Lafferty still to sign. But having Johnson’s $3.25M, Riikola’s $1.15M, Ruhwedel’s $700k, and now Matheson’s $4.875M tying up your #5-8 D spots, something has to give.
Or, maybe he just plays on the left wing on the 3rd line with McCann.
this man is a forward, folks https://t.co/BrbONMPtYD
— Rhys Jessop (@Thats_Offside) September 23, 2020
On Colton Sceviour:
Sceviour, 31, carries a cap hit of $1.2M for one more season. Historically, he’s been a guy that eats up 3rd line minutes during his tenure with Dallas and Florida.
This past season saw him register 6 goals and 16 assists in 69 games, with 114 shots in all situations. He’s notched a career high 11 goals twice in his career (2015-16 with Dallas and 2017-18 with Florida) and has pretty consistently put up between 20-26 points in the full(ish) seasons he’s played.
This season was sort of a mixed bag for him, though. Via HockeyViz.com:
Offensively at 5v5, he stayed pretty true to his career trajectory in terms of driving play (see historical impact below), seeing 7% more expected goals for than the league average.
He’s also a guy that kills penalties, averaging 2:30 per game last season. As you can see above, he’s your textbook definition of league average.
But defensively at 5v5, he struggled, finding himself seeing 4% more expected goals against than that of the league average.
However, since 2014-15, minus this season and 17-18, he’s been decent defensive forward in his 12-15 minutes per night at 5v5.
He’s not going to blow you away, but he will shoot the puck a lot. Over the last 6 seasons, he’s only attempted under 190 shots twice, both of which came in the last two seasons where he played 69 and 59 games respectively (per Natural Stat Trick).
Over the last 3 seasons, his 13.76 individual shot attempts per 60 minutes of 5v5 play ranked 100th out of 393 forwards that played a minimum of 1000 minutes. That ranked him ahead of Jake Guentzel (101 – 13.68), Phil Kessel (103 – 13.65) and Chris Kreider (104 – 13.63) and behind the likes of Brad Marchand (88 – 13.98) and Matt Tkachuk (92 – 13.9).
His 11.47 unblocked shot attempts among that same pool were the 68th most while his individual expected goals of 0.69 were tied with Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha for 125th most (all via Natural Stat Trick).
Hornqvist did rank ahead of him at an individual level in all of those, but it’s about as close to a direct swap as you’re going to get here at this point.
Sceviour also has some familiarity with Jared McCann, whom you can imagine will be centering Sceviour on the Penguins 3rd line.
As for Hornqvist, this feels like the end of an era. He epitomized everything you needed to win in the playoffs, all the way down to being willing to commit war crimes to do something as simple as create a scoring chance.
He was a hammer and will be sorely missed by this particular blog.