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Hornqvist inks contract extension with Penguins

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Rutherford gets a massive deal done with the re-signing of right-winger Patric Hornqvist to a five-year, $5.3 million contract extension.

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Patric Hornqvist officially signed a new deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins that will keep him in Pittsburgh for the next five years for $5.3 million AAV.

This isn’t unsurprising, as several NHL insiders broke the news just about an hour an a half after the trade deadline ended Monday afternoon, stating that Jim Rutherford was reportedly in the works of putting together the final touches of right-winger Hornqvist’s contract extension — something many folks were worried wouldn’t get done, or wouldn’t get done right, this coming offseason. Rutherford teased us all by saying he’d love to sign Hornqvist back if the deal was right all season long. He also hinted that it’d be official today. He kept his word and followed through.

Rutherford, for a lack of better words, hit this deadline out of the park, and managed to not only bring in a huge name off the market in Derick Brassard, but also divvy up the center’s huge $6 million contract using other teams’ assets en route to his ultimate end game: re-signing Hornqvist.

The term might be a little worrisome given Hornqvist’s age (31) and the beating he takes through his net-front play style, but consider that this Penguins team is going to be highly competitive for at least the next four to five years, and a consistent player like him proves to be a huge advantage when the postseason hits. Besides, he’s still in his early 30s, many former and current players have found success at this age. Tomas Holmstrom is a great example of that.

For those of you convinced Zach Aston-Reese, though impressive so far, could’ve just slotted right into Hornqvist’s role if the Swede ended up signed onto a different team, I think you’re jumping the gun a little bit. Yes, ZAR has similar strengths and will a great NHL player in the future, but no one replaces Hornqvist so easily. His game is too unique, too special.

Additionally, Hornqvist was an impending unrestricted free agent that would’ve gotten paid a heck of a lot more once he hit free agency. If you don’t believe that, just look around the league at other massive contracts to guys who really don’t deserve them given their production (i.e., Bobby Ryan, who’s getting paid $7.25 million inside a seven year contract). Hornqvist has never scored less than 20 goals in a year in which he played 60 games or more and is a wizard on the power play. That would’ve easily got him at least $6 million-type level offers from many GMs — probably more. $5.3 million is a steal.

Hornqvist deserves this, and the Penguins got him at a bargain. He’ll be one of the guys leading the charge in future Stanley Cup runs. Stick taps to Rutherford for making this happen.