Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Hornqvist's 5-Year Extension Done Deal

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Hornqvist's 5-Year Extension Done Deal

Article excerpt

When Jim Rutherford first approached Patric Hornqvist about a contract extension around Christmas, Hornqvist knew it was something the Penguins general manager didn't do often.

Rutherford almost never signs players to extensions in the middle of the season, always preferring to wait until the summer. Hornqvist's case required an exception.

The Penguins and Hornqvist finalized a five-year contract extension Tuesday, running through the 2022-23 season, with an average annual value of $5.3 million.

"It feels great," Hornqvist said. "This is the city I want to be in. I'm really happy to stay here for five more years. We always have a chance to win and we have a great core group in here. That was obviously the key situation for me, too. I want to win, and I think we have a great chance to."

Since joining the Penguins in a trade for James Neal in the summer of 2014, Hornqvist has made himself an indispensable part of the team, on and off the ice. His net-front presence, particularly on the power play, makes life exceedingly difficult for opposing goalies. Teammates and coaches also rave about his vocal leadership style on the bench and in the locker room.

"He deserves every penny of it," Tom Kuhnhackl said. "He's been a great leader in this locker room. Maybe I should start yelling more at the refs. Maybe that gets me a new contract, too. Obviously, it's well-deserved for him."

"He's been such a big part of this team and what it's been able to accomplish over the last couple of seasons," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan added. "I think it's obvious what he brings to our team, both on the ice and off the ice. He brings so much energy, he's a positive guy. He really brings a dimension to our dressing room, I think, that's unique.

"I think everyone that's part of our dressing room is appreciative of what Patric brings, so there's no one more deserving of the contract that he signed and we're thrilled to have him."

Conventional wisdom held that the Penguins would have a tough time re-signing Hornqvist, who seemed poised to cash in on one final big contract as an unrestricted free agent this summer. …

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