Armed with an ageless style and 16 years of NHL experience, Scott Hartnell would be a fit on virtually any team.
But as he enters the twilight of his career and looks at the dwindling number of opportunities to win, he strongly believes his best chance to do that is right here in Columbus.
Hartnell was widely rumored on the trade block at last spring's deadline and again into the summer, but training camp is here and he's still a Blue Jacket - and that's where he plans to remain.
Hartnell has a no-trade clause in his contract and has no plans to lift it. He wants to stay here, win here and be around for the coming-of-age of several top prospects who are attempting to break into the NHL and help push the Blue Jackets on to bigger and better things.
Those young players, he said, are creating an environment of competition that puts the entire organization in a good place.
"I've lived both ends of the spectrum; I slowly came in and was playing fourth line in the beginning (in Nashville) and played more of a defensive role," Hartnell said. "In the first three years, it was just learning the game as a pro and feeling more comfortable offensively. Now looking back, at 34 years old now, I love having the competition of someone trying to take that spot.
"It pushes me to the next level and makes me want to stay in this league; that competitiveness for spots…it's healthy for everyone, it's great."
Hartnell admitted he's been looking forward to this year's training camp for some time. After hearing about John Tortorella's training camp (the coach himself laid out high expectations for each player at the end of last season) and reading about it, he took the challenge to heart and went to work this summer.
He's arrived in camp in great shape and is off to a strong start - but he knows it's all about getting ready for opening night.
"Personally it's my 16th training camp and this (one) ranks up at the top for the most anxious and most nervous that I've been," Hartnell said. "At the end of the day, I've prepared myself the proper way to come in here ready to go, and I think it showed the first game. I felt pretty good. The wind was there, the legs were there, and I want to continue to build on that going into the regular season."
His excitement for the coming season, coupled with his optimism for the present and future of the organization, were the main factors in his decision to stay here and call Columbus home for the foreseeable future.
"I've just got a good feeling," Hartnell said. "We're young, we're skilled, we're fast. I just like the group of guys. It's going to be competitive. Torts is going to have us dialed in every game, every practice - there will be no screwing around. He demands a lot out of us, which is great, and we have to demand a lot of ourselves as well."