After more than 24 hours of waiting, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Florida Panthers finally completed the rumored swap of forward Patric Hornqvist and defenseman Mike Matheson.
The trade breaks down as follows:
Penguins get: Matheson and forward Colton Sceviour
Panthers get: Hornqvist.
There is no salary retained in the trade, meaning the Penguins are actually taking on about $700,000 in salary for this season.
Hornqvist’s contract pays him $5.3 million per season through the end of the 2022-23 season.
Matheson, meanwhile, is under contract for six more seasons at a salary cap hit of $4.875 million. Sceviour’s deal has one more year remaining at a salary cap hit of $1.2 million.
The hold-up on the trade on Wednesday reportedly revolved around insurance on Hornqvist’s contract, as well as needing his approval for the deal due to his no-trade clause.
Breaking it all down
For the Penguins, it’s a pretty massive shakeup to the roster as Hornqvist had been one of their most fiery leaders and was a major contributor to two Stanley Cup winning teams. He was their most tireless worke, their most consistent high-energy guy, and as good of a net-front presence as there is in hockey. But he is also going to be 34 years old next season, and given his physically demanding style of play there comes a risk of him starting to decline and breakdown a bit. Given his salary cap number and the Penguins’ tight cap situation it is not a surprise that he was a candidate to be moved. Especially given the team’s desire to apparently shake things up after a second straight disappointing postseason exit.
This move does not save them any money, but it does help them achieve one of their stated offseason goals of getting younger and faster, two things that Matheson definitely brings to the table.
But he also creates a bit of a log-jam on defense where the Penguins already have a ton of money committed to the likes of Kris Letang, Brian Dumoulin, Marcus Pettersson, and Jack Johnson. John Marino will also be due a raise after next season.
It seems likely that another move is coming at some point this offseason. This is already their third trade of the offseason.
The question for Florida is how much quality hockey Hornqvist still has remaining. He is the type of player that a perpetually disappointing team would look to acquire to change the culture of their roster. He will certainly bring effort and energy to the team, but it will still come down to what he can deliver on the ice.
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.