The Pittsburgh Penguins are winning again and are seemingly back into the playoff picture. A few weeks ago, I proposed a question on twitter:
It generated a lot of reaction, both good and bad, from our readers. So a good friend of mine, @PensArmy on twitter, and I decided to collaborate on the idea of if a Patric Hornqvist trade would do anything for the Penguins or not.
Obviously with the team winning again now and getting hot at a good time, the subject is a bit less relevant, but let’s take a look anyway.
Would Trading Hornqvist Be Beneficial?
It’s hard to find anyone who could bring the energy or the net-front presence Hornqvist does and there is something to be said for that. I am a firm believer that the current Penguins, had they been losing still, would be worse off without Hornqvist in their lineup. But imagine this scenario…
The Penguins are comfortably out of the playoff race. Hornqvist and Ian Cole are pending UFA’s at season’s end. Cole could be a solid top-4 defenseman but likely suits a bottom-pair role best on a playoff team. The Penguins could sell him off for a middling prospect and a pick. He’s not the discussion here.
Imagine Hornqvist’s name on the block. Hornqvist is a guy you win a Stanley Cup with. He is the guy who plants himself in front of the goalie and makes himself an annoyance for the goalie. He scores tons of goals because of this, too. He’s one of the most invaluable pieces the Penguins have used in previous years.
Remember a few years ago when the Penguins traded for Jarome Iginla? At the time, he was aging and was seen as a piece the Penguins needed for that extra push. They sent prospects and a first-round draft choice to Calgary for Iginla.
Hornqvist is currently a winger in his prime who will command hefty money in free agency. The Penguins may be able to squeeze him in under the cap but it’ll be a challenge. The return on Hornqvist could easily be huge.
Hornqvist would be a rental and if you’re out of the playoffs now, who’s to say you couldn’t resign him in the offseason?
It would be considered re-tooling and not rebuilding as you aren’t getting rid of any of the big names on the team. They could gain at least a first round pick plus more picks or prospects and load themselves up as they haven’t used a first round pick since 2014 on Kasperi Kapanen, who’s since been traded.
Of course, the thought process changes now that the Penguins are beginning to win games on a more consistent basis. Hornqvist can not be traded now that the Penguins are back in the picture. But if things go sour again before the deadline, the Penguins could always make a splash.
Pens Army argues the other side that the Penguins would be foolish to trade Hornqvist: