#72 / Right Wing / Pittsburgh Penguins
5-11 | 189 | January 1, 1987
Sollentuna, Sweden | 230th, 2005 (Nashville)
|Assets||Shoots the puck with aplomb and skate pretty well for a player with a very projectable frame. Has scoring instincts and all-around upside.|
|Flaws||Is a somewhat undersized winger, so he can wear down over the course of the season. Can rile up opponents too much with his antics, which can turn into a negative. Is a bit too streaky on offense.|
|Career Potential||Streaky scorer, two-way winger and constant net presence. (Assets, Flaws and Career Potential via The Hockey News player page)|
Career 25-Game Rolling Five-on-Five Corsi-For Percentage:
2015-16 Even-Strength Usage Chart:
Why you should know who he is: Over the past two seasons (Hornqvist's two in Pittsburgh), only Chris Kunitz has skated more minutes alongside Sidney Crosby at five-on-five than the Swedish winger. The pair has dominated, to the tune of a 56.3 Corsi-For percentage and a 65.8 Goals-For percentage, and those numbers are even more impressive over the course of the 2015-16 season (57.4 and 66.7, respectively), thanks to an eye-popping 60.9/69.2 split under mid-season coaching replacement Mike Sullivan (per Puckalytics). You get the point - these guys are two-thirds of a positively lethal top line (whether the third winger is Kunitz or Conor Sheary) and must be accounted for at all times.
As for Hornqvist, individually, he's a classic undersized pest with a nose for the net and the courage to go there. Think Dino Ciccarelli with a little less talent and a little more annoying and you're more or less on the right track. Hornqvist tied for the team lead in the first round with three goals (on 18 shots) and had a goal and an assist in five games against the Caps during the regular season.
How the Caps can stop him: Stopping Hornqvist will almost certainly need to be a byproduct of stopping Crosby (good luck with that), but the Caps will have to maintain their discipline and not let Hornqvist get under their skin. Barry Trotz is quite familiar with Hornqvist from their time together in Nashville, so that might help, but, really, this will be a shift-to-shift challenge and will require the coaching staff to be on its toes when it comes to match-ups - the duo of Matt Niskanen and Karl Alzner did a good job against the Penguins' top line during the regular season (and a tremendous job against the Flyers' top trio in the first round); other pairs were less successful. The Caps' ability to contain the Pens' top line may be the difference between advancing to the Conference Final and hitting the links.
Previously: Matt Murray