Tough questions need to be asked during the offseason, and sometimes, they are questions that even the person asking them does not want to face. It is unfortunately the case for Nashville Predators veteran winger Scott Hartnell…
While the 36-year-old is training for another season, he has acknowledged to The Tennessean that he could also be forced to face retirement. The veteran forward is due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st and he isn’t expected to be re-signed by the Predators.
“There’s no secret I’m at the twilight of my career,” said Hartnell. “If my career was over this past season, I’ve got so much to look forward to. I’ve got no complaints (about) the way my career has (gone).”
Hartnell managed to have another run at a Stanley Cup with the Preds this spring, however, he was inserted in the lineup for just four games in the postseason.
“I kind of figured as much,” Hartnell said of the Predators’ decision to part ways. “They have a lot of guys on one-way (contracts) that need to come up and (they) need to give them a chance. They’re going with their young guys obviously as we saw toward the end of the year, so it was no surprise in that respect.”
“I’m a pretty honest guy when I look in the mirror and assess my game and whatnot. I know I’m not a top-line guy, a top-two line guy.”
Hartnell recorded 13 goals and 24 points in 62 games this season with the Preds, and would like to offer his grit and power to an NHL team. He now has his first son Wesley to consider in the equation. And he knows it might be the end of a 17-year career.
“If there’s a call in July and it’s the right opportunity and the right fit for me and my family, I think we’ll take that if I am comfortable with the role I want to play,” Hartnell said. “But if it doesn’t come to that and it doesn’t turn into anything, I’m ready to move on, too. I have lots to look (forward to) here in my after-hockey-playing years.”
Since 2000, Hartnell has suited for the Predators, Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets. In 1249 games, he has tallied 327 goals and 707 points, and added 1809 penalty minutes to his stat sheet.