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2017-18 Player Reviews: Scott Hartnell

Hartsy returned on the David Poile Special (1 year, $1 million). How did he do?

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NHL: Nashville Predators at San Jose Sharks Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

(I feel it’s important to preface this by saying that after GM David Poile announced that Scott Hartnell would not be offered a contract for 2018-19, this writer was pretty down in the dumps. That being said, I promise to be fair and honest in grading him [I am a teacher, after all].)

It seemed like it was too good to be true: Scott Hartnell was coming back to the place he started, the Nashville Predators. Of course, he hadn’t been in a Predators uniform since the mustard days, but he was coming back now. His “cagey veteran” status and his notoriety as a net-front presence were touted as a strong selling point and many long-time fans opined about how Hartnell was their least-favorite opponent when playing the Philadelphia Flyers and the Columbus Blue Jackets. So, an experienced player that can make you pay on the boards AND on the scoreboard for the low, low price of 1,000,000 USD sounds like a deal to me.

Season Overview

Hartnell played in 62 regular season games. He missed a large span on games early on due to a lower-body injury that occurred against the Pittsburgh Penguins. During the regular season, Hartnell found the back of the net 13 times and notched 11 assists. He also played in four playoff games where he did neither of those things.

For a look at Hartnell’s stats, I’m going to compare him to Miikka Salomaki. I’m comparing him to Miikka Salomaki for two reasons: 1. They were both regular 4th line wingers. 2. During the playoffs, I might have said some regrettable things about Salomaki getting ice time instead of Hartnell. I want to add that I like Miikka Salomaki, but felt the Predators needed Hartnell on the ice for those reasons I mentioned earlier.

Hartnell was better than Salomaki in mostost situations, except for Shots Against, Entry Rate, and Exit Rate. Perhaps these skills were why Laviolette chose to play Salomaki over Hartnell, but who knows.

Another important statistic, at least as far as I’m concerned, is value. My wife and I crunched some numbers in order to find the cost per point for several Predators. We didn’t check everybody, just the ones that seemed cheap, so there may be some inconsistencies, but Hartnell’s points were the third cheapest on the team behind Kevin Fiala and Colton Sissons:

USD per Point

1st Kevin Fiala $17,343.75

2nd Colton Sissons $23,148.15

3rd Scott Hartnell $41,666.67

4th Calle Jarnkrok $57,142.864

?th Filip Forsberg (for reference) $93,750.00

Best Moment(s)

Since he won’t get a report card from us next year, I’m going to include a few.

3rd - This beauty from Nick Bonino against the San Jose Sharks in February:

2nd - My favorite off-ice moment when the Predators supported the Tennessee Titans during their playoff run (I would like to mention the infamous Preds and Puppies Calendar in which he posed with his cat)

1st - The moment when he proved my playoff complaining and armchair coaching to be RIGHT...and also the moment when he became the proud new father of Kyle Connor:

Worst Moment

I don’t even want to post the video. I happened to be at the game when it happened and remember how quiet Bridgestone Arena was afterwards. It wasn’t intentional and Hartnell sat out a few games afterwards and he felt really bad, but it would have to be the ugly hit he put on Victor Antipin during the game against the Buffalo Sabres on March 31st. Here’s a link to an article about it...there’s a video as well, if you have to.

Grade: B

No, he wasn’t a top producer. No, he didn’t have career high numbers. However, he came in and did the job he was supposed to do and then some. He scored 13 goals, assisted 11 others, neutralized Dustin Byfuglien in the playoffs, played the role of cagey vet, and absolutely punished people on the boards. For what the Predators spent, they got their money’s worth out of him. I’m just sad he isn’t coming back next yeat. I enjoy his on-ice presence and his off-ice shenanigans.