Nashville Predators General Manager David Poile has been doing work. Since the free agency period opened at noon Eastern on Saturday, he’s signed center Nick Bonino, inked minor league goaltender Matt O’Connor, traded winger Colin Wilson and reunited with Anders Lindback.
And now he’s inked recently bought out winger Scott Hartnell to a one-year, $1 million contract.
Thursday morning it was announced that the Columbus Blue Jackets bought out the remaining two years of Hartnell’s contract making him a free agent.
“We and he are both thrilled for him coming back here,” Poile said. “He really misses Nashville. He loved living here, he loved playing here, I think he was a fan favorite and I think it’s going to be a seamless fit for him back in our organization.”
The Regina, Saskatchewan native is 16th on the franchise’s all-time scoring list (211 points) and tied for 11th in goals (93).
Hartnell, Nashville’s first round pick in 2000, returns to Music City after 10 seasons elsewhere. During his seven-year stint with the Philadelphia Flyers and his three-year stint with the Columbus Blue Jackets, he put together two 30-goal seasons and three 60-point campaigns.
That said, he is 35 years old and had lackluster production last year despite playing on a pretty good Jackets team. Perhaps getting out from under that contract in Columbus will serve him well.
In addition, he immediately fills a need for the Predators. He can be a much-needed net front presence and round out the third line with physical play and dependable scoring. The Wilson move earlier in the day seemed to open the door for this signing to happen.
“He’s going to bring a veteran presence,” Poile said. “We all know Hartsy’s a crash and bang type of guy. He’ll find a way to get some goals. Probably gives us that net front presence that you’re always looking for that we’ve probably missed since we traded Patric Hornqvist.”
This is yet another example of a Poile reclamation project. In the summer of 2014, Poile signed Derek Roy, Olli Jokinen and Mike Ribeiro all for cheap, low-risk, high-reward contracts. Only one of the three budget signings hit but it hit big as Ribeiro put up 62 points in 82 games and then five points in four playoff games that year an earned a new two-year deal.
Hartnell played for Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette from 2009-13 as a member of the Flyers.