Scottie Hartnell has long been a name tossed out there whenever someone says the Habs need some NAG (North American Grit). Hartnell embodies the Flyers very well– tough, physical, and can score some goals, too. That’s something that many will tell you the Habs have been missing for the last couple of years.
And it appears there may be no time better than the present to take a run at him. From The Fourth Period:
According to the Philadelphia Daily News, Flyers forward Scott Hartnell has admitted his disappointment over losing playing time this season, but still enjoys being a member of the club.
“It bothers me that I’m not getting the minutes that I used to have,” Hartnell told the Daily News. “It’s frustrating. But I’m still having fun. We’re winning, we’re all playing well and everyone is contributing.”
The 29-year-old has lost playing time to rookies Matt Read and Sean Couturier, while his struggle during training camp was also a factor noticed by coach Peter Laviolette.
Trade rumors about Hartnell have been circulating since he struggled mightily in training camp. Hartnell recorded 24/25/49 and 142 PIM last year. So, the question is: Should Montreal trade for Scottie Hartnell?
Hartnell certainly does have value and is a good bet to score 20+ goals this year. He had 162 hits last year. However, our top 6 (or, as JM would prefer us say, our top 9) is quite full at the moment. Top 9 forwards currently consist of: Erik Cole, Tomas Plekanec, Mike Cammalleri, Brian Gionta, Scott Gomez, Max Pacioretty, Lars Eller, David Desharnais, and Andrei Kostitsyn.
Obviously one of those, hypothetically, would be moved for Hartnell. I don’t think Gauthier would deal a draft pick (or anything but a player) because it would simply create too much chaos among the top 9 forwards. It would be overflowing. So which player would be dealt for Hartnell? My dream scenario: Andrei Kostitsyn for Hartnell, straight up.
First of all, Kostitsyn’s stats most closely resemble Hartnell’s. For all his inconsistency, AK46 is a good bet to give you at least 20 goals. Last year, he posted 20/25/45 in 81 GP. I think his ceiling is also higher than Hartnell’s–he could easily, given the right circumstances, add at least another 5 goals to that total, giving him nearly identical stats, scoring-wise, to Hartnell.
In addition, their number of hits–a good indication of their physical play–are close. AK registered 140 last year, compared to Hartnell’s 162. But, again, I think Kostitsyn’s slightly higher ceiling would win out over 20 hits.
From the Habs’ perspective, I think this is a no brainer. It’s well known that Jacques Martin loves him some established veterans–so much so that it has him on the hot seat now. Hartnell fits this mold. Also, when Kostitsyn was re-signed to a 1-year deal, everyone immediately went, “Trade deadline bait!” Martin and Kostitsyn have had a long-standing disagreement, if not a feud. I don’t think the Habs would balk at shipping AK out. We all know, he can impress you for a game, but then will disappear for the next 5. That’s exactly the sort of play JM and PG have been trying to eradicate the last 3 years.
Now, would the Flyers want to do this? Obviously, Hartnell has disappointed them this year. If he’s on the trading block, it means that he has really underperformed and the team thinks that he is not going to meet his personal requirements to stay on the team and be a part of the organization. Kostitsyn provides similar value with a higher ceiling, although he does have bad traits like taking lazy hooking calls and forgetting to backcheck once in a while. Now, if I’m the Flyers, what it comes down to is am I willing to sacrifice Hartnell’s grit for Kostitsyn’s skill. Or, in other words, does Kostitsyn’s skill and untapped potential (which, admittedly, may not be too much at this point), while also factoring in his stupid/lazy hooking/tripping penalties, outweigh Hartnell’s toughness? For the Broad Street Bullies, I’m not sure it does. But I think, if they don’t think Hartnell is going to be able to meet his 22-25 goal quota, they may trade him for someone who will get that same amount, if not more. The big knock against the Flyers was that they weren’t going to have enough goal scoring, right? Well, they have a chance to get some more here.
Look, for the Habs, I think this would be a great trade, and one that would get the front office some positive feedback at a time that it is most certainly needed–the fans have had it with JM and the team’s overall philosophy right now more than ever. But, I’ll admit, it’s not a sure thing for the Flyers. However, Laviolette had them skating suicides at practice this morning and they’re coming off a bad loss to the Caps. It might be time for the Flyers to take a flyer on Kostitsyn, a trade that I think in the end would end up benefitting both organizations, and sure as hell the Habs.
You’d never have guessed the Canadiens won judging by the crowd noise at the end of the game. And guess what? There were more injuries!
Recap: The Jets came out looking jittery, and the Canadiens really just took hold of the game and never gave it back. Mike Cammalleri scored on a nice wrister for the only goal of the 1st. Tomas Plekanec scored on a really nice play where he intercepted a pass then picked Johnny Oduya’s pocket and deked out Ondrej Pavelec for the goal. Nik Antropov then scored a couple minutes into the 3rd and the stadium was nearly blown to high heaven by the joyous noise. However, MaxPac, Moen and Weber (on the PP!) finished off the Jets with their 3 scores.
Plus: Man, True North is rolling in the dough. Literally every person there was wearing Jets merchandise of some sort. Sales must be out the wazoo…Carey Price had a typical Carey Price game, stopping 30 of 31 shots with some real nice saves mixed in…Tomas Plekanec added 2 assists to go along with his goal and was a +3…Moen and Weber both had 1G and 1A…Really, Winnipeg the big winner here. Nothing was going to ruin this for them…
Minus: Although the homecoming is glorious, the play was discouraging for Jets fans…Erik Cole had another bad game…Pavelec allowed 5 goals on only 22 shots, a SV% of .773…Winnipeg was 0-for-6 on the PP…
Injuries: Michael Cammalleri left with an apparent laceration of his leg. Reports have said 2 weeks and 2 months. Pray to God it’s on the 2 weeks side…Jaroslav Spacek, in what can only be deemed a cruel desire of the hockey gods to see Yannick Weber on D, left with an “upper-body injury” that came after he appeared to hurt his ribs on a hit where he collided with the Habs’ bench…The injuries are absurd right now. Praise the Lord for Carey Price (if I just jinxed it…I will kill myself)…
3 Stars: 1. Plekanec 2. Price 3. Pacioretty
Nightly Nugget: Max Pacioretty scored his first goal since the, uh…incident…
Next Up: The Canadiens have their home opener on Thursday when they welcome Jarome Iginla and Calgary to town. The Flames (read: Miikka Kiprusoff) have looked awful so far…
The Canadiens announced today that Blair Betts, who they had claimed on waivers a few days ago from the Flyers, had been returned to Philadelphia because he failed his physical.
Questions obviously arose after Betts did not play in the Canadiens’ opener in Toronto. The Habs said he was day to day.
From Bettman, via the Canadiens’ team website:
In reaching his decision, Commissioner Bettman stated: “While it is clear that both clubs have acted in good faith in this unique situation (i.e. a waiver claim), I am not prepared to dispute the conclusion of the Montreal Club doctors that Mr. Betts was physically unfit to play at the time of the claim. Therefore, it is my decision that, per League By-Laws, the appropriate resolution to this matter is to restore the parties to the position they were in prior to the waiver claim on Oct. 5.”
This is a real disappointment-many (including yours truly) thought Betts was the player the Habs had been searching for for the last year or so: gritty 4th line center who is good on PK and will score occasionally.
Looks like it’s Andreas Enqvist time, unfortunately. Jeff Halpern, why did you have to go?
Ok, perhaps that is an exaggeration. But ’tis true.
Recap: The Canadiens played a good 1st period, then fell off the map for the 2nd and half of the third. Matthew Lombardi, in his first regular season game in more than a year, scored the Leafs’ first goal shorthanded, while Dion Phaneuf scored the Leafs 2nd goal on a rocket.
Plus: James Reimer got the shutout in the first game of the year, always a nice way to start things off. It was his 4th career SO…If anyone was going to score for the Leafs, glad it was Lombardi…David Steckel won 18 of 25 faceoffs, good for 72%…Phaneuf added an assist on Lombardi’s goal…The reason the Habs were able to keep it close during the 2nd and 3rd periods was Carey Price. Look for this to continue in about 85% of the games this year…
Minus: There were still a couple issues from last year apparently still present for the Habs, most notably their lack of compete against lower-level teams and subsequent lack of offense…Erik Cole was nowhere to be found, probably because Martin played him so bizarrely on the 3rd line, which brings me to…Not a well-coached game by Jacques Martin. The Cole thing was glaring, plus neither he nor Pacioretty, who played well, was out at the end of the game with the Habs down 2…I thought Subban (-2) and especially Mike Cammalleri did not play well this game…The Canadiens went 0 for 5 on the PP while the Leafs went 0 for 3…
Injuries: Chris Campoli (of course!) left with an apparent leg injury after falling down awkwardly and bending his leg. And so it begins…Newest Hab Blair Betts did not play. Jacques Martin said he has a lower-body injury, is day-to-day and hopes to play in the next game…
UPDATE: According to Damien Cox of the Toronto Star, Campoli has a hamstring injury and will miss 3 weeks. Damn it!
3 Stars: 1. Reimer 2. Lombardi 3. Phaneuf
Nightly Nugget: As previously mentioned, Matthew Lombardi played and scored in his first game in over a year after he sustained a concussion in the 2010 preseason. Great to see him work so hard to come back and to have an immediate impact (even though he’s on the Leafs).
Next Up: The Habs head to the ‘Peg on Sunday night for the first Winnipeg Jets game in Winnipeg in over 15 years. That should be fun.
We heard it all summer after the (gulp) elimination to Boston: the cries for GM Pierre Gauthier to sign a damn gritty, big 4th line center who is good on faceoffs and can alleviate some pressure off Pleks on the PK.
Today, PG found that man.
He claimed Blair Betts off waivers from the Flyers. And everyone is happy about it (except Flyers fans who, upon seeing Habs fans’ reactions, are pissed they didn’t get anything for him). Betts was excited about his role as a 4th line grinder and PK specialist even entering preseason this year having played that position for Philly for the past 2 years or so. I remember whenever I would watch a Flyers game (read: against Habs and in Finals), there would always be a “Blair Betts is great for the PK” comment.
The Flyers extended him in February 2010 for 2 years, so he goes UFA after this year.
So yes, he’s only signed for this year, but there is no question about one thing.
This year, he is exactly what the doctor ordered for the Habs. Now if only Markov’s knee could get the f healthy.