Scott Hartnell has become a player that fans either love or hate. For some reason, of late, fans lean more to the latter.
While I will admit his imitation of a Pete Rose head-first slide into net-minder Ilya Bryzgalov Saturday night, which led to a goal against the Flyers was downright awful, I won't overlook Scott Hartnell's upside.
Yes, some people think his salary is not worth what the Flyers are getting either, but is it?
Through his first six games this year, Scott Hartnell registered a lousy two points. He even saw ice time with the Philadelphia Flyers' third line.
Then, suddenly he got moved to the first line and exploded. I really can't tell you why the coaching staff decided to put their most under-performing winger on the top line. However, it has paid huge dividends for the team, as Hartnell ripped off nine points in the last five games.
Amidst the controversy and fire-breathing resentment, I present to you the five reasons the Philadelphia Flyers need to keep Scott Hartnell, at least for this season anyway.
This video right here is most likely Scott Hartnell's brightest moment in hockey.
No, the goal didn't look pretty, but if you watch up until that goal, you see that he took a nasty slash across the ankle, only to recover and score. Not many players on this Flyers team, let alone the NHL, can do that.
Yes, the slash should have been a penalty. By all rights Hartnell could have laid there to make the ref stop play, allowing him to leave the ice. Instead Hartnell did what any fan or coach would ask of a player, he picked himself up and scored.
If the Flyers do trade Hartnell, they had better replace his toughness and grit. Last year they perceived their team as soft and shook up their roster. Why move one of your "tough" players only to get "softer"?
Scott Hartnell has four full seasons with the Orange and Black. In that short time, he has failed to eclipse the 20-goal mark once.
It's not like he's Chris Gratton; the guy is a reliable threat.
His postseason numbers kind of see-saw, but considering that the last playoffs were not so great, he should be due for a good playoff run this season (Yes, they will be in the playoffs).
Again, if you trade him, you need to replace the amount of points he gives you.
The 82 grind of an NHL season is a marathon, not a sprint. Come playoff time, you need your top players healthy. Through four hard-hitting seasons with the Orange and Black, Scott Hartnell has only missed three games!
One would think with all the falling, hitting and slashing Hartnell endures, he would take some time off. No, he just keeps on trucking.
Personally, I get irritated with guys who seem to always have some nagging injury. Injuries ruin seasons and destroy franchises. Now, Hartnell is not a franchise player, but he's definitely a core guy when it comes to lighting the lamp.
The only Flyer I can remember who was more durable than Hartnell is Rod Brind'Amour. Bet you never thought to hear those two names in the same sentence, eh?
When you have the biggest goon in the NHL screening your goalie, what do you do? In this video, Scott Hartnell did what needed to be done.
Jody Shelley is the Philadelphia Flyers' anointed enforcer. However, he will find himself scratched from time to time, and can't be out there all the time. Having one of your top-line wingers able to step up in that department is tremendous for a team.
Aside from Shelley and Simmonds, Hartnell is the only viable heavyweight to handle these duties.
Chris Pronger is a nasty fellow by his own right. However, the Flyers don't need him taking an injury because of a fight. Pronger is having a hard time staying healthy these days. Let someone else handle the dirty stuff.
Scott Hartnell on the top line with Claude Giroux and Jaromir Jagr have me reminiscing of the Legion of Doom days.
Hartnell has registered nine points since his placement on the top line; Giroux and Jagr each have seven.
Jaromir Jagr couldn't score a goal until Hartnell was up there. Since then he's been a beast.
Earlier in the season, James Vanriemsdyk logged time with the top group, but since has been with the second line.
Hartnell does not have the talent of Vanriemsdyk, but he has something JVR lacks: grit.
That gritty, irritating style of Hartnell has helped to open things up for the top line.
JVR in turn has seen some success with Wayne Simmonds and Danny Briere, scoring two goals in that pond-hockey Winnipeg game last Thursday.
The styles of the players all seem to complement each other. If you take Hartnell out of the mix, you could be trying to fix what is not broken and wind up worse than when you started out.
The signing of Jagr in the offseason looked like a big mistake at the time. At the start of the season, debate started as Jagr did not look much like his old self. Since being paired with Hartnell, he's looked much like his old Art Ross self.
While it's unfair to place all credit with Hartnell for Jagr's sudden offensive explosion, he sure seems to be the catalyst for it.
For now, I personally feel the Flyers would be better served riding the season out with Scott Hartnell and see what happens. Who knows, maybe the next ugly goal he makes in the crease will result in a parade!
Please feel free to leave comments or questions!