With the Penguins being fairly tight to the salary cap beyond this year, Sam Werner of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette suggests that winger Patric Hornqvist is probably playing his final season in Pittsburgh. The pending UFA has scored at least 20 goals in each of the past four seasons and is on pace to do so again in 2017-18 while he has the reputation of producing when it counts in the playoffs. Between that and a pair of Stanley Cup titles, he should be him in line for a nice raise on the open market from the $4.25MM cap hit he currently has unless he chooses to sign for below-market value to try to keep the full core of the team together.
More from Pittsburgh:
- Defenseman Matt Hunwick has been skating with the team for more than a week but has yet to be cleared to return by team doctors. Head coach Mike Sullivan was quick to put an end to any speculation that he may have suffered a setback, telling Jonathan Bombulie of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that they’re still just going through the process of trying to get him back into the lineup. When he does play, he’ll be the second defender to return in a short period of time after Justin Schultz made his return from a concussion on Tuesday.
- Even though his shot is one of his best weapons, the team is working closely with top prospect winger Daniel Sprong on his shooting, notes Jason Mackey, also of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. While he is off to a strong start in the minors with eight goals through ten games, the organization is concerned with the number of times he has missed the net, suggesting he hasn’t hit the net on a similar number of occasions as his 43 shots on goal. With the Penguins scuffling a bit offensively as of late, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Sprong in the discussion for a recall before too long and if he can make strides in his accuracy, that time may come sooner rather than later.