This post is part of Predators Day on PHT…
It won’t be long now until Scott Hartnell gets back on the ice with the team he started his NHL career with.
After being bought out in Columbus, Hartnell signed for one year in Nashville. For a tidy $1 million, too. It’s a nice deal for a proven player that still may have something to add to a team in its window to win.
Yes, he is getting older, at 35 years of age. His production dropped quite a bit in 2016-17. But Hartnell is only one year removed from a 23-goal campaign and two years from scoring 28 goals in a season. He also recorded 34 of his 37 points this past season at five-on-five, despite being 22nd on the Blue Jackets at even strength ice time.
The Blue Jackets might’ve reduced his role in his final year in Columbus, but it sounds like Nashville has bigger plans for Hartnell in the upcoming season.
“He’s probably used to playing up and down in the lineup and actually on both sides,” Predators general manager David Poile said of Hartnell. “He’s got that versatility. … I think maybe my best way of saying it is that (Hartnell) might be kind of a utility, fix-it type of guy. I certainly see him being used on the power play (with) the net-front presence. That could be a big difference for us this year with the guys that we’ve got on the point.
“Whatever amount of ice time that he got in Columbus last year, I think there would be a good chance that he’ll get more ice time with us.”
When he was bought out in Columbus, Hartnell was hopeful it would be a “mutually beneficial” situation for both the Blue Jackets and himself.
For Hartnell, it’s a chance to play for a coach he’s familiar with in Peter Laviolette, on a team coming off a Stanley Cup Final berth, and with perhaps an increased role.
It certainly has the chance to work out in his favor.