Every NHL team features their fair share of “Stars”. For the Philadelphia Flyers, that list includes Chris Pronger, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Matt Carle, and Ray Emery.
Star players are a key part to any team's success. With that said, it is the players that do the “little things” that, while sometimes are overlooked, are more often than not the key cog in a team's success; in the case of the Flyers, that’s Scott Hartnell.
Known more for his Ronald MacDonald-esque hair, Hartnell is a key member of the Flyers offense. He's a player that is expected to score 25-30 goals, throw his body around with reckless disregard, and a player that is willing to take the punishment that comes with positioning himself in front of the net, which Hartnell does on a nightly basis.
A prototypical Power Forward, Hartnell, who stands 6’2" and weighs in at 210 pounds, is a heart and soul type of player that wears his heart on his sleeve and bleeds Orange and Black. His ability to clog the front of the net is well documented, as are his occasional questionable hits and actions.
Tough, defensively responsible, and willing to fight, Hartnell is the glue that binds a Flyers offense stacked with plenty of skill. Hartnell is willing and able to do the so-called "dirty work" that other forwards scoff at. It is a necessary evil, and a skill that is becoming more and more uncommon in the NHL.
Make no mistake about it; Hartnell is no “Goon”. Admittedly, Hartnell does not do anything at an elite level, but he is a consistent/complete player, one that would go through a wall to win a game and one that can play in any situation, including both the power play and penalty kill.
Through two full seasons with the Flyers, Hartnell has registered 54 goals, 103 points, and a plus/minus rating of +16. This season is no different, through 20 games, Hartnell has registered seven goals (six of which came on the power play), 15 points, 20 penalty minutes, and has a plus/minus rating of +1.
Some players bring speed, some bring skill, but there are very few players in the NHL that can bring the combination of skill, size, hockey sense, and character that Hartnell has demonstrated with the Flyers. And, for that reason, Hartnell is irreplaceable.
Until next time,
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