Ed. Note: From August 21st through September 16th, we will be providing previews for each player for the 2013-14 season. In no specific order, today we continue with Patric Hornqvist…
|Patric Hornqvist’s last 3 seasons|
2012-13 in review:
The lockout-shortened season was a tough one for Patric Hornqvist. The energetic power forward first suffered a sprained knee just five games into the season. Less than three weeks after he returned from that injury, Hornqvist was crunched into the boards and missed more time due to a shoulder ailment. In all, the 26-year-old spent exactly half the season out of the lineup.
Hornqvist’s absences were felt. When he and Wilson went down on back-to-back nights in March, it was the beginning of the Predators’ injury troubles. They finished the season with a 6-14-3 record after that point (Hornqvist, not at 100 percent, did play in 10 games later in the season).
It was a busy hockey season for Hornqvist, who spent the lockout playing in Europe. He finished the NHL season with 14 points in 24 games – a 47-point pace for 82 games, par for the course for Hornqvist.
Burning question for 2013-14: Will it be a bounce-back season for Hornqvist?
If the Predators want to make the playoffs they’ll need a healthy and productive Hornqvist. There’s no reason to think why the latter won’t be the case if the former isn’t a question mark.
Before last season Hornqvist had only missed 11 contests in his first three full NHL seasons (he did break his hand prior to the 2010 playoffs). Hornqvist’s knack for camping out around the crease – and getting bruised and battered in the process – raises the concern for future injury, but this is one of the toughest players to have ever suited up for Nashville.
Assuming he can spend more time on the ice compared to last year’s parade to the trainer’s room, Hornqvist is a prime bounce-back candidate. Consider this: Hornqvist finished third on the team in shots on goal (87) despite missing 24 games. He finished also 2012-13 with just four goals and an uncharacteristic 4.6% shooting percentage. And if he isn’t scoring goals, he could be helping pucks find the back of the net by screening opposing netminders. In short, he will remain a main source of offense for this team.
Those totals should increase for Hornqvist, who signed a new five-year, $21.5 million contract in the off-season. To live up to that new contract he will have to return to scoring 20, maybe 30 goals a season. Health permitting, expect the likely Olympian to reach 25 goals in 2013-14.