October 01, 2018
After 17 bruising NHL seasons, fan favorite forward Scott Hartnell is hanging up his skates.
Wherever Scott Hartnell went, fans loved him. Whether it was Nashville, Philadelphia, or Columbus, his physical style of play, ugly (but effective) goals, and his patented falling down that generated a viral hashtag made him impossible to hate.
After 17 seasons, split between the Nashville Predators (twice), Philadelphia Flyers, and Columbus Blue Jackets, he has announced his retirement.
Hartnell was originally drafted by the Predators with the sixth overall pick in the 2000 NHL Draft. Though Justin Williams is still going, as of his retirement, he is the leader among all 2000 draftees in games played with 1,249. Hartnell also ranks fourth in points among his draft brethren with 707 points and third in goals with 327.
He spent the first six years of his career with the Predators before being traded along with Kimmo Timmonen to the Flyers for a first-round pick in 2007. Hartnell spent seven seasons with the Flyers before being traded to the Blue Jackets for R.J. Umberger and a fourth-round pick.
From 2014-15 to 2016-17, he played for the Blue Jackets before getting bought out. Hartnell made his return to Nashville in 2017-18, posting 13 goals and 24 points in 62 games while also appearing in four postseason games in his final season.
Fans of his will remember his constantly changing hairstyles and facial hair. Hartnell's patented look usually included a beard of some sort, whether it was a five o'clock shadow or a full-fledged beard.
188 of his points came on the power-play. That's where Hartnell was able to create a bit of a niche. He was a great net-front presence in his prime. Very few of Hartnell's goals could be deemed pretty, but ugly goals count as much as ones that wind up on highlight reels.
He is one of the last of a dying breed- the power forward. The kind of guy who could score a goal and fight you in the same game. And Hartnell did it without being a dirty player - he was only suspended once in his career.
I think the most telling thing of what kind of legacy a player leaves behind is how people view him. Ask any Blue Jackets, Predators, or Flyers fan what they think of Hartnell and I'd wager you'd hear nothing but great things. He was an opponent who, in his prime, was fun to hate. But deep down, you couldn't hate Hartnell because he was too awesome.
COURTESY: Dave Stevenson - Puck Prose