A Feb. 26 deal resulted in 23-year-old Ryan Hartman’s movement to Nashville, and while reactions were mixed at the time with regards to the price to acquire him, the reasoning behind the trade wasn’t — he was supposed to add depth now and grow into a greater role later.
In 21 games after joining the Predators, Hartman didn’t fill the scoresheet all that much, netting three goals and providing three assists after tallying 25 points with Chicago (eight goals, 17 assists) prior to the trade.
Hartman scored twice and added one assist in nine playoff games, including what ended up being the game-winning goal in Game 2 against Colorado.
Hartman found himself mainly on the fourth line down the stretch and in the postseason, though a series of turnovers and bad penalties also led to him sitting out a few games in the playoffs.
What Hartman did do well — both with Chicago and with Nashville — was draw penalties. He finished tied for ninth league-wide, drawing 25 in the regular season (via Natural Stat Trick).
Hartman suffered a torn labrum late in the season which required surgery, but he should be available — or close to it — by the start of the regular season. He’s expected to sign a new deal in the offseason as well, as he is a restricted free agent.
This reaction after being speared in the nether regions during Game 4 against Colorado...
And this was a good way to break in with a new team, a game-winner in Winnipeg to end one of those #HeartAttackHockey games...
Hartman was suspended one game for a hit on Colorado’s Carl Soderburg in the aforementioned Game 4. Though it was his first suspension at the NHL level, it came at a bad time, when the Predators were trying to close out the Avalanche.
Overall Grade: C
Ryan Hartman essentially became the Preds’ first-round draft pick (what would have been 27th) this year. That’s a good thing in that, since he’s a restricted free agent, he’s likely going to be under Nashville control for some time to come.
With Hartman in the lineup, you’re bound to see some special teams — he draws penalties and tends to take some head-scratchers as well. A key to his development will be tilting the balance toward drawing more instead of taking more.
He wasn’t very good against Winnipeg — a sentence we could write about all but a handful of Preds — which definitely soured some opinions of giving up Victor Ejdsell, a first-rounder and a fourth-rounder for him.
There’s going to be a role for Hartman to play — maybe comparable to Calle Jarnkrok in that he could play on different lines and in different situations in case of injury — but he’s got some growing to do first.
He may not quite be ready for training camp following offseason shoulder surgery. That torn labrum may possibly have been a contributing factor in his playoff performance and subsequent benching, but when he’s healthy, he’ll have an opportunity to grow into a valuable player for the Nashville Predators for years to come.