Patric Hornqvist Is Reportedly Close To An Extension

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

The Three Star-Keys

Taillon shines in debut

Joe Starkey
February 26, 2018 - 10:39 pm

Welcome to our new website -- and to The Three Star-Keys, a feature you will see a few times per week. It's basically me (Starkey) choosing three outstanding people, or items, from the sports world and telling you why I chose them. I'll name them hockey style, third to first. Here we go ...

3. George McPhee: If the Penguins win the Cup, they should insist McPhee get his name on it.  The Vegas Golden Knights GM went above and beyond in helping the Penguins clinch the Derick Brassard deal, and you know what? I also admire him for going all in with his team. The Knights traded a first-, second- and third-round pick to land Tomas Tatar. Vegas also went hard after Erik Karlsson. McPhee easily could have stood pat or even dealt for the future with his expansion team. Instead, as he said, he rewarded his players by adding for a run (and did I mention he helped the Penguins?).

2. Jameson Taillon:  So easy to root for this guy. If he develops into a consistent No. 1 or No. 2 starter, the Pirates will be so much better for it, and Taillon looked great in his Spring Training debut against the Boston Red Sox on Monday. He allowed just one hit, a ground-ball single up the middle, and struck out three in two scoreless innings. It wasn't much of a game, but who cares? You search out the smaller victories in Spring Training, and Taillon looking strong in his debut was a nice one to put in the Small W column.

1. Jim Rutherford: If you would have told me a week ago the Penguins would land Brassard and sign Patric Hornqvist (a move that was pending as of Monday night), I would have said you were crazy, but Rutherford just continues to work his magic. Hornqvist is in many ways the heart of this team. What a player. There isn't anyone else quite like him in the league. The conventional thinking was that the closer he got to the end of the season without signing a deal, the more he'd be tempted to test free agency. If the deal is as reported -- five years at $5.3 million annually -- the Penguins probably got a discount. Zach Aston-Reese is a nice player, but he's not Hornqvist. Nobody is. Rutherford didn't sound optimistic about signing Hornqvist in-season, but then, GMJR didn't sound optimistic about acquiring Brassard, either. Clearly, the man surprises even himself.