The controversial deal, which took two days to get done, was finalized on Thursday when the Pittsburgh Penguins traded forward Patric Hornqvist to the Florida Panthers in exchange for Mike Matheson and forward Colton Sceviour.
The move was not easy for Pens’ general manager Jim Rutherford.
“This is a hard one,” Rutherford said. “He was the first guy I acquired when I came to Pittsburgh and he’s played a big role in the success of the team over the years he was here, especially the two Stanley Cup years. He changed the culture.”
While the trigger was hard to pull on this one, it doesn’t seem like it will stop Rutherford from making more moves.
When asked about his reasoning behind acquiring Matheson, a left-handed defenseman who posted eight goals and 12 assists in 59 games for the Panthers this season, Rutherford made it sound like more transactions would be coming, even suggesting a blue liner might become a trade chip.
According to team insider Josh Yohe of The Athletic, Rutherford suggested Matheson can play on the right side but also said “something has to give” and that there is a “logjam” on the left side.
On the back end in Pittsburgh, it is almost certain that Rutherford won’t look to move John Marino or Brian Dumoulin. When it comes to Kris Letang, some pundits believe he remains a crucial part of the core and is an untouchable, while others wonder if it is time for the Penguins to move on and trade him while he is still worth something. It is crowded on the left side of the defense in Pittsburgh with Dumoulin, Marcus Pettersson, Jack Johnson and Juuso Riikola.
It does feel like more moves are coming to Pittsburgh!