The Flyers didn’t have much luck bringing in new faces this summer but they made sure the veterans are here to stay.
Scott Hartnell is the newest Flyer to sign a contract extension, a six-year deal worth $28.5 million dollars and a no-movement clause. This extension takes Hartnell through the 2018-19 season, starting in 2013 after his current six-year, $25.2 million deal is up.
Hartnell had a career-year last season, leading the Flyers with 37 goals and second in points with 67. His cap hit will increase a bit, from $4.2 million to $4.75 million once the contract kicks in.
Hartnell joined the Flyers in 2007 coming in from Nashville and has only missed three games over the past five seasons.
“I’ve loved every second of it,” Hartnell told reporters of his time in Philadelphia. “We have a great team, a great bunch of guys. We have a great future and chance to win a Stanley Cup. Obviously, that was a big part of it. I want to win. I play hockey to win. We got a good thing going.”
Hartnell also credited his linemates Claude Giroux and Jaromir Jagr to his breakout season. All three led the team in scoring, Giroux in first with 93 points and Jagr third with 54. Jagr signed with Dallas this offseason so Jakub Voracek is expected to fill his spot on the top line.
It wasn’t all smiles for Hartnell during his first five seasons. When Peter Laviolette first became head coach in December 2009, the pair didn’t get off to the greatest start. Laviolette didn’t think Hartnell was living up to his potential and he wasn’t.
In two seasons (2009-11), Hartnell only scored 38 goals. It looked like it was going to be the same old story for Hartnell last season until the eigth game of the year where he finally scored his first goal, netting two against the Maple Leafs.
From that point forward Hartnell didn’t look back, winning over the city and even earning his first All-Star nod.
It may have took some time but Hartnell finally fits into the Flyers’ mold perfectly. The goofy looks and passion were always there but now his scoring ability has made him a fan’s dream.
He doesn’t shy away from criticism, something that is a must to be sucessfull in Philadelphia. When a fan started the Twitter hashtag #hartnelldown, mocking Hartnell’s frequent falls, he embraced it. He took the joke and created his charity, the #Hartnell Down Foundation.
“I plan on playing all six years and playing my heart out for the City of Philadelphia, the fans and the bosses upstairs,” Hartnell told reporters.
In a city that is as tough on its players as Philly is, sometimes all you need is heart to be welcome in the city of brotherly love.