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Patric Hornqvist, the net-front catalyst

When you think about Patric Hornqvist’s game and what he brings to the table, his net-front presence and relentless effort is the first thing that comes to mind.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Washington Capitals Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Watching Patric Hornqvist playing for the Penguins throughout the playoffs last season, and so far this season, you almost have to start feeling sorry for the defensemen and goaltenders who have to deal with his ferocious play. Almost. He never stops.

Let’s look at the charts above, showing the locations where Patric Hornqvist is scoring his goals from. Just completely camping out in the net-front area, if not scoring goals from the crease.

If you’re Martin Jones here, you just have to shake your head at a player like Patric Hornqvist being literally right in front of you.

This goal, that took place earlier this week against the Blue Jackets, is Peak Patric Hornqvist. I believe it was Carl Hagelin who went to the net, and the puck was likely going to cross the goal line regardless. But Hornqvist was there to finish it off just to make sure.

Referencing the shot location chart from above, here’s the FARTHEST distanced goal that Hornqvist has scored this season. That distance feels like business as usual for most wingers and goal scorers in the NHL. For Hornqvist, this season, that’s outside his range.

In addition to the close range of goals that Hornqvist is scoring this season, he’s doing it in a number of different ways.

Here, Hornqvist finds a patch of ice to camp out, and redirects a point shot past Braden Holtby.

In this instance, Hornqvist scores a wraparound goal against Pekka Rinne.

When playing with and being set up for goals by Sidney Crosby, you’re going to need to be ready in front of the net. Hornqvist often is.

Here’s another example of this. Finding a spot near the corner of the net and simply being there and ready to finish.

Soft hands in front of the net. Getting to that spot, finding the puck on your stick, and being able to poke it past the net minder.

In this instance, Hornqvist surprised the goaltender by quickly going to a backhand shot along the ice without even turning around.

It’s insanely fun watching a player with the net-front resilience like Hornqvist, who will take a beating and keep going back for more. I love Patric Hornqvist’s game, and I can’t wait to see how many more net-front goals he scores this season.