Despite reports that former Nashville Predators, Columbus Blue Jackets and Philadelphia Flyers forward Scott Hartnell was considering retirement earlier this offseason, that no longer appears to be the case. By all accounts Hartnell has spent his offseason training in the hopes of landing a contract offer or a professional tryout (PTO) offer from an NHL team.
Hartnell was not tendered an offer from the Predators and officially hit the open market as a free agent on July 1st. About a week prior, he indicated to TSN insider Frank Seravalli that he’s “all in” on playing another NHL season.
Scott Hartnell @Hartsy43 has indicated he’s all-in and intent on playing an 18th #NHL season. He was really effective against #nhljets in playoffs and had better than one goal per 60 this season.
“Watching these games, I still have a fire inside me to play again,” Hartnell said. ‘My first priority, over the next couple of months, is to get ready [to return]. It wasn’t the way I wanted to end it. I was scratched, came back and had some good games. If there’s the right fit, I believe I can still be a presence, still be effective. If I didn’t believe that, I would step away.”
In his latest article for NJ.com, New Jersey Devils reporter Chris Ryan puts forth Hartnell as an intriguing PTO or training camp option for the Devils. Ryan points out that the Devils have a history of turning PTO contracts into NHL contracts, signing both Lee Stempniak and Jimmy Hayes to deals after impressive training camp and preseason performances. Could Hartnell be the next Devils PTO success story?
The 26 year old native of Regina, Saskatchewan has played 1249 career games split between the Predators, Blue Jackets and Flyers, scoring 327 goals and 707 points. He's a nine time 20+ goal scorer and a two time 20+ goal scorer and he did manage 13 goals in a severely reduced role with the Preds last season. While he may not have the foot speed that he had earlier in his career, the former 6th overall pick from the 200 NHL Entry Draft still has some gas in the tank. It'll be interesting to see whether or not a team elects to give him one final shot.