Broken Up From Trading Hartnell? Nah.
Scotty Hartnell has been dealt to Columbus for R.J. Umberger and a 4th round draft pick in 2015. It was a surprising move, something most fans didn’t expect to see, but I’m certainly not too broken up about it.
Hartnell was frustrating to watch because he performed well during his tenure, but was very inconsistent. That is not the type of play you need from a top-line winger. You also have to consider that his lack of skating ability made him a liability on the ice and that he often let his emotions get the best of him, which led to costly and unnecessary mental errors.
As a result, I think Hartnell would have been better suited as a third line winger. In that case, he would have complemented Matt Read and Sean Coutourier instead of bearing the responsibility of a top line containing two of the most talented forwards in the league.
Interestingly enough, it’s been said that Umberger is the same player as Hartnell, but with less skill. I’m not sure how that can be said when he’s so much more versatile than Hartnell. I think a more fair comparison would be a player like Max Talbot, but with more talent. He can play any forward position, and, more importantly, he can play the penalty kill. With the likely departure of Adam Hall, Umberger will probably fill that role as a defensive forward on the PK to support Giroux, Coots, and Read.
In the long run, the Flyers shaved two years of salary and added a draft pick, which makes the move more appealing. When Umber’s contract expires in 2016 Brayden Schenn, Coutourier, and Michael Raffl will be free agents. Not to mention we have young guys that will be playing for the Orange and Black in the next few years that hopefully develop into solid NHL players—guys like Scott Laughton, Sam Morin, and Shane Gostisbehere.
Hextall said from the start that his goal was to build the team with young talent through the draft and player development. This move fits that mentality and puts us in a better place to build a long-term contender.
Overall, it’s worth it.