General Manager David Poile was busy on Monday, re-signing restricted free agent Ryan Hartman to a new one-year deal worth just $875,000.
Hartman, coming off of shoulder surgery, spent time on both the third and fourth lines late last season, depending on who was in and out of the lineup.
The former first round pick came over in a trade deadline deal with the Chicago Blackhawks that cost Nashville a first round pick, a fourth round pick and prospect Victor Ejdsell (Preds also got a fifth round pick in the deal). Hartman scored a huge goal in his first ever game in gold but managed just five more points in the other 20.
In fairness, he’s not exactly counted on for Filip Forsberg-type offense but, on the other hand, his numbers do suggest he has the ability to contribute. The draw back seems to be his decision making. He was a liability at times, taking inopportune penalties that put his team down a man at critical moments of games.
With Chicago in 2016-17, Hartman did put up 31 points in his first full NHL season but, before you use a Sharpie to put his name on the third line, it’s time for a history lesson.
Matt Halischuk, back in 2011-12, came out of nowhere to give the Predators some depth scoring. In his 73 games that year, the winger tied Colin Wilson for seventh on the team’s goal list with 15. But, in the four seasons following that, he only scored 13 goals combined, spent some time in the minors and now plays overseas in Germany.
Was Hartman’s 31-point campaign closer to what’s expected of him or is it closer to a Halischuk-esque anomaly? The low price tag allows Poile and the Preds time to find out while also giving Hartman a chance to prove he’s worth more.
The pre-season slate starts September 17 in Sunrise, Florida while the regular season begins October 4 with a trip up to New York.
PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Gallagher // Penalty Box Radio (used with permission)