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2019-20 Season in Review: Patric Hornqvist

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The start of our season reviews kicks off with the heart and soul of the team, energetic forward Patric Hornqvist

NHL: JAN 02 Sharks at Penguins Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Vitals

Player: Patric Hornqvist

Born: January 1, 1987 (33-years-old)

Height: 5-foot-11

Weight: 189 pounds

Birthplace: Sollentuna, Sweden

Shoots: Right

Draft: 2005 Nashville, 7th Round, 36th Pick, 230th Overall

2019-20 Statistics: 52 games played, 17 goals, 15 assists, 32 points

Contract Status: Hornqvist completed year two of a five year contract extension in 2019-20 with the Penguins. He is under contract at a $5.3 million cap hit until the 2022-23 season. Hornqvist owns a full no trade clause through this whole upcoming 2020-21 season, but starting in 2021 offseason that drops down to just an 8-team no trade clause.

Looking back

Last season Hornqvist earned a C grade from the overwhelming majority (57%) of Pensburgh voters on his 2018-19 season. The next highest grade was 29% for a D and then just 12% for a B.

Regular Season History & 2019-20 Season

—Hornqvist has now played more regular season games in his career as a Penguin than as Nashville Predator, believe it or not. The Swede finished the team ranked 4th in goals scored for Pittsburgh, but was just 10th in assists, which dropped him to 7th in points on the team.

Advanced Stats History & 2019-20 Season

(Ranks are out of the 13 highest TOI forwards this season on the team who played 250 minutes in the regular season at 5v5)

Corsi For%: 48.3% (11th)
Goals For%: 63.0% (1st)
xGF%: 52.4% (5th)
Scoring Chance %: 50.3% (11th)
High Danger Scoring Chance%: 48.9% (9th)
5v5 on-ice shooting%: 9.2% (5th)
On-ice save%: .948% (1st)

—Hornqvist was used in an offense-heavy role and he ended up driving those results. The Pens scored 2.73 Goals/60 with Hornqvist on the ice and only yielded 1.60 Goals/60 against. That’s really great results! Slightly troubling is that goalies basically stood on their head to get him there, and despite the favorable zone starts he ended up not really a great Corsi player. Still, for a power play specialist, the Pens can certainly live with Hornqvist on ice for 63% of all goals scored at 5v5.

Playoffs

4 games played: 1 goal, 1 assist

—Hornqvist scored a power play goal in Game 3 and had an assist in Game 1, putting eight total shots on net. It was quiet for most players given the Pens’ offensive sputtered out, but he at least wasn’t a total stranger.

Monthly Split

via yahoo!

—It was a great start of the season for Hornqvist, and really other than a November lull and injury and December injury was a fairly consistent and constant point producer this season. One interesting point is only three power play goals for Hornqvist, he scored 6 in 2018-19 and 15 the season before that. Only getting 52 games this season was a factor, but could a lack of productivity there be a tangible sign the coaches are taking to occasionally demote Hornqvist from the top unit? It bears watching in the future.

On the injury front, Hornqvist suffered a lower body injury that kept him out from November 4th-21st and then another knee injury in early December and missed games from December 4th-28th. Considering he suffered multiple concussions in 2018-19, this would be a good turn and another factor to monitor, though the two lower body knocks cost him 17 games.

Charts (via HockeyViz)

Overall Role & General Data

Hornqvist played very little time with Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby at 5v5 this year. His most common linemates were Dominik Simon and Jared McCann, though he did have a few stretches with Malkin + Bryan Rust on the second line. Overall, as mentioned, the Pens used the Swede in a largely offensive role.

Even-Strength Unblocked Shot Locations

As a volume shooter it should be no surprise that Hornqvist at 168 shots finished third on the team in that category. And based on shots/game he was clearly the highest on the team. If there’s an open lane from any time No 72 has the puck, he’s firing it on target. It’s a strategy that’s paid off very well for him over the years and won’t be changing anytime soon.

The Value on the Power Play

See that big brown blob in front of the net on the chart on the left (the one where Hornqvist is on the ice)? That’s a beautiful sight, when Hornqvist is out there, the Pens are getting pucks to the front from right in front, a hugely high-scoring area. Where does Hornqvist primarily play on the power play? That’s right, directly in front of the net.

Without Hornqvist, that brown turns to blue (bad!) right in front. Doesn’t take much of an analytical mind there to see that is a tremendous benefit in 5v4 situations that the Pens’ power play is clicking a lot better with him out there.

Bottom line

It was a slight bounce back for Hornqvist this year, his points/game (.62) bounced back from last year (.54) and was more in-line with where he had been from 2015-18 (.62, .63, .70). And he did this without much scoring on the power play, and without a ton of top-six forward time, which is a good indicator that Hornqvist can be a viable member of a third line. The leg injuries that zapped a big portion of his early season prevented a more clear and bigger bounce back.

Ideal 2020-21

Probably a lot like 2019-20, minus the knee injuries. Hornqvist will bounce between the third and second lines, continue to be one of the team’s biggest shooters of the puck and probably end up north of 20 goals and 40 points if he can retain health.

Question to ponder

On a team with a public mandate looking to get younger and faster, Hornqvist is the second oldest forward on the team and arguably the most plodding skater. He turns 34 towards the start of the 2020-21 season and also controls his own fate this season with a full no trade. Is this a player the team tries to move? Hornqvist has basically fallen out of favor for Crosby/Malkin 5v5 icetime, which wasn’t a big deal, but more troubling doesn’t appear to be a lock for the first PP group (even though the data shows he probably should be). So where does that player fit while carrying a hefty cap hit?

Grade

Poll

Grade Jack Johnson’s 2019-20 Performance:

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    A
    (123 votes)
  • 57%
    B
    (613 votes)
  • 26%
    C
    (285 votes)
  • 3%
    D
    (41 votes)
  • 1%
    F
    (13 votes)
1075 votes total Vote Now