Call it whatever you want. Call it a turnaround, or a transformation, or an evolution. But the game of Scott Hartnell has come a long way in his time with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Hartnell signed a six-year contract extension with the Flyers recently, a year before he was set to become a free agent. That will keep him in the City of Brotherly Love for the next seven years, and I doubt you’ll hear too many around the organization or from the Flyer faithful that can be disappointed with that fact.
Prior to the past couple of years, Hartnell was seen as trade bait and a target of some of the fans as the next guy that they might want to run out of town. But that attitude has seen a turnaround, as Hartnell has become a fan favorite not only around Philly, but hockey fans as a whole.
Hartnell had a career year last season, mostly thanks to joining Claude Giroux and Jaromir Jagr on the top line. He notched 67 points, including 37 goals which were a career high by a mile. His performance earned him a well deserved trip to the All Star Game in Ottawa.
That’s a performance that Hartnell has a chance to replicate this season, as he will likely once again join Giroux on the top line. The two have established strong chemistry and that line should be an anchor for this Flyers team.
But Hartnell’s contributions to the team and the city go beyond what he does on the ice. He’s proven to be a fantastic guy in the locker room and has embraced the fact that he spends half of his time on the ice on his rear end, as his Hartnell Down charity (and Twitter hashtag) have helped to make him extremely popular with fans around the league.
Hartnell has come a long way since his days with the Nashville Predators and his early days with the Flyers. He was once a guy seen as expendable. Now it’s difficult to imagine these Flyers without him. He’s a key piece of this team, on and off the ice and now has a chance to display that for the next several years down on Broad Street.