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‘Bull Hartnell Kept His Feet Moving’

April 24, 2007

hartnell-sharks.jpg

As the off season begins several key personal moves will determine how the Predators will look next season. One major decision is that of young Scott Hartnell. The former first round draft pick (6th in 2000) has literally grown up in this organization and from a fans point of view seeing him in another uniform would be really weird.

Year Team League GP G A Pts +/- PIM Shots Sh%
2006-07 Nashville NHL 64 22 17 39 +19 96 150 14.67
2005-06 Nashville NHL 81 25 23 48 +8 101 211 11.85
2003-04 Nashville NHL 59 18 15 33 -5 87 154 11.69
2002-03 Nashville NHL 82 12 22 34 -3 101 221 5.43
2001-02 Nashville NHL 75 14 27 41 +5 111 162 8.64
2000-01 Nashville NHL 75 2 14 16 -8 48 92 2.17

While Hartnell will never be a threat to the league scoring title his physical, tenacious style is an intangible that many teams are willing to pay for. He is a pesky player. He gets under the skin of the opposition. He is willing to throw his body around and to sacrifice his body planting himself in front of the opponents goal. He has developed into a good skater and his defensive skills allow him to matched up against many other top lines.

The major downside I see to Hartnell is the amount of penalties that he takes. On several occasions it is this behavior that has put him in the doghouse of Preds coach Barry Trotz and the fans. With the exception of his 48 minutes in 75 games his rookie season Hartnell has been at or near the century mark in PIMs each season. If Hartnell can limit those to the 60-80 minute range it would make a big difference. The Preds saw in the most recent playoff series with the Sharks just how important staying out of the box can be.

When you weigh all the factors I still think Hartnell is a must keep for the Preds this off season. I would love to see it happen prior to July 1st (when he officially becomes a UFA) and is able to talk to any team he chooses. I imagine that he will be looking at somewhere in the 3-3.5 million range for a four year deal…if that is all he is asking then i say we have to do it. If he is looking at 4 or more then we may be able to get better value for the money.

Perhaps we can hope that Hartnell was genuine when he said “It’s the only team I’ve known and the only city I’ve known. I’ve played for the Predators since year one, and the people in the city are awesome. It’s a great bunch of guys. To come back would be the first priority, obviously. Hopefully, things will work out.”

Yes Hartsy…hopefully they will.

(the title of this post is a quote from Terry Crisp that was used in a Predators radio promo piece for a long time)

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7 comments

  1. I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog over the past few weeks, I’m glad I stumbled across it.

    In other free agent news an article at TSN (http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/news_story/?ID=205303&hubname=) quotes Paul Kariya as saying Trotz is one of the best coaches he’s ever had and Timmonen saying “Hopefully, they want to keep me. I want to stay here”.

    I sure hope both them and Hartnell are affordable for next year, it would be nice to see them all in a Predators uniform again.


  2. I agree 100% with what you said. I think it is very important to sign Hartnell. More important than anyone else. Except maybe PK…sorry my fan loyalty came out there for a moment. However, i think they need to sit down and talk to him about the amount of penalties he is taken and get that under control. His penalties is what killed us last year in the playoffs and to his credit were much better this year. It’s not always about taking a penalty as much as it is about the timing of the penalty. Hartsy penalties always came at a bad time and thats what kills me about him. Other than that if the price is reasonable I say bring him back.

    What about the relationship between him and Trotz. I had heard that thier relationship was not that good but I’ve not heard much about this being an issue lately.

    Great blog Joe. I enjoy it a lot!


  3. David – I read that quote from Kayria too…it sounds like the boys really like playing for him. That might help keep some of these players around. If Hartnell hears a pro like Kayria talk about Trotz like that it might carry some weight with him.

    (thanks for the kind words on the blog too…come back often!)


  4. Jason – you are right about the relationship questions. I had even heard at one point that Hartnell was called out as being a bad influence in the locker room. These are all things that are thrown around but you have to wonder if there is any truth to them.

    I think Trotz and Hartnell butt heads over the stupid penalties that he would take. It would drive him crazy!


  5. I hope we are able to keep Hartnell as well. At the end of last season I was pretty frustrated with his untimely penalties but he did seem to improve in that area this season. He brings a grit that this team needs and it would not be the same without him.

    I hope we re-sign Vernon Fiddler as well. I believe he is an RFA so it should be a little easier to keep him. I think he may be the most under appreciated guy on the team. He plays with lots of heart and you need guys like that to complete a team. His goal in game 5 was so good to see since he was playing through pain in the series.


  6. I really don’t understand where you are coming from on this one Joe. To me, there were 2 extremely disappointing players for the Preds in the last half of the season and into the playoffs. Marek Zidlicky and Scott Hartnell. I saw nothing from #17 but selfish, undisciplined play. He was completely disconnected in the end. He didn’t create anything these last couple months. He was just another body. Let him go. We need heart & creativity on this team and ironically, Hartnell had neither.


  7. You’re right Hampton…we should just let a 22 goal power forward walk away. That would be pure genius!

    I think you are being a little hard on Hartnell. I thought he was physical against the Sharks and he did post a goal and an assist. I didn’t see the disconnected part you are referring to.

    On Zidlicky you are right on the money…there were several times that his carelessness with the puck cost us this season and in the playoffs. If he were to get traded I would not be too upset. Problem is does anyone want him?



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