The Florida Panthers reportedly made their first big move of the offseason Wednesday, trading much-maligned defenseman Mike Matheson to Pittsburgh in exchange for veteran forward Patric Hornqvist.
NHL Network Insider Kevin Weekes, who incidentally interviewed for the Florida GM job before the Panthers hired Bill Zito, first reported the news.
Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet later tweeted that he has been told a trade is in the works, but there is a “glitch.’’
Dan Kingerski of PittsburghHockeyNow.com reports the trade is being held up because the Penguins have been unable to reach Hornqvist.
No other details on the reported trade have been made available.
The Panthers have not commented on it as of late Wednesday morning.
** Breaking News**
— Kevin Weekes (@KevinWeekes) September 23, 2020
Matheson, a left-shot defenseman, recently completely the second year of an eight-year contract given to him in 2017 which carries a cap-hit of $4.875 million.
Hornqvist, 33, has three years remaining on his contract at a cap hit of $5.3 million and would have to waive his no-trade clause to come to the Panthers.
Since the Pens have not been able to get ahold of Hornqvist, apparently, it is not known whether he has agreed to the deal or not.
This past season, Hornqvist scored 17 goals with 32 points in 52 games for the Penguins. He has played in 770 NHL games over the past 12 seasons with Nashville and Pittsburgh.
From a monetary standpoint, the Panthers would be shelling out more money in the short-term for Hornqvist but make up for it down the road.
I’m told there’s a “glitch” with the FLA/PIT trade. It was definitely in progress. We will see if it gets worked out.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) September 23, 2020
Matheson, 26, has a good portion of his contract backloaded, with the Panthers having paid him $7 million of the $39 million owed in the first two years of the deal. Matheson has a modified no-trade clause in his contract which kicks in this season.
It has been a rough couple of seasons for Matheson, a player the Panthers once thought so highly of that they gave him an eight-year contract after just one full NHL season.
The past two seasons have seen Matheson drop lower on the depth chart and find himself a healthy scratch — including for the final two games of Florida’s series against the Islanders in Toronto.
More on this story as it develops.