Former Predators winger Hornqvist embraces recent trade to Penguins
Patric Hornqvist never played with star forwards in Nashville, but don't expect him to be star-struck this season.
Hornqvist said Thursday that while he never has played with star centers such as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, he isn't about to change his game into something it isn't. The 27-year-old winger who was traded from Nashville to the Penguins last Friday plays a simple, hard-working style, which is exactly what the Penguins like about him.
“I'm going hard to the net and scoring goals around the net,” Hornqvist said.
Just how many goals might he score with Crosby and Malkin?
“It's hard to say,” Hornqvist said. “But I've got a great opportunity playing with two of the best centers in the world.”
Hornqvist was asleep in Sweden when news broke he was traded. He received a phone call from Nashville general manager David Poile and couldn't believe what he was hearing.
“I was shocked during those first couple of hours,” he said. “I still thought it was a dream. After a few hours, though, I was so happy that Pittsburgh wanted me. I've only heard good things about the team and that organization. They always have a chance to win, so I'm excited for this fresh start.”
Hornqvist said he has evolved as a player. When he played in Europe, he said he scored most of his goals from the high slot.
The player he was traded for, right wing James Neal, scored most of his goals from that area. Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford made it clear the Penguins love Hornqvist's ability to score in front of the net and provide a physical presence in the corners.
“In Nashville,” Hornqvist said, “I just started going to the net. It gave me more ice time. So I started going to the net even more.”
Crosby and Malkin love playing with forwards who barge toward the net.
“I'm going to give energy to the team,” Hornqvist said. “They know what kind of player they got.”
Hornqvist said he is willing to play left or right wing. He also noted he is eager to become a positive presence in the locker room. Hornqvist was an alternate captain with the Predators.
“I always try to be a good guy in the locker room,” he said. “Nick (Spaling) is the same way. Happy around the rink. I'm pretty sure they already have those kinds of guys there. I'm just excited to meet the coaches and the players and to build something up there.”
Note: The Penguins re-signed forward Zach Sill to a one-year, two-way contract worth $550,000 at the NHL level.
Sill is a candidate to play on the fourth line next season. He played 20 games with the Penguins last season, and, while he failed to record a point, impressed the Penguins with his penalty killing and physical play.
Rutherford said last month that he wants the Penguins to become a more physical team. Sill, known for big hits and his willingness to fight, is a candidate to help in that regard.
A native of Nova Scotia, Sill, 26, has played parts of the past five seasons with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL.
Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.