Acquired at Monday's NHL trade deadline in the deal that sent fan favorite and locker room leader Wayne Simmonds to the Nashville Predators, forward Ryan Hartman will immediately step into the Flyers starting lineup. Although he can play either wing or center, the righthanded shooter has primarily been a right winger at the NHL level and will play that position in Philadelphia.
Stylistically, Hartman plays a physical and agitating style of hockey and has some offensive upside. As a rough stylistic approximation, Hartman is somewhat similar to former NHL player Steve Downie, although a bit less combustible and less injury-prone thus far in his career.
"Right away, I was pretty excited. I've always liked how the Flyers play the game," Hartman said. "I play a hard style, a physical game. I get to the dirty areas, get in the corners. ....That's the kind of hockey I like. Blocking shots, doing the little things right and playing a hard-nosed style."
A first-round pick (30th overall) of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013 after coming up through the USNTDP (U.S. National Team Development Program) and the Ontario Hockey League. Hartman became a full-time NHL player at age 22.
As a rookie with Chicago in 2016-17, he posted 19 goals, 31 points, 70 penalty minutes and a plus-12 rating at even strength. Last season, he was the primary piece in a deal with Nashville that sent a 2018 first round pick (27th overall, Nicolas Beaudin) to the Blackhawks. Hartman scored a combined 11 goals, 20 assists and 31 points between the two teams. Video: Chuck Fletcher speaks on Wayne Simmonds trade
Hartman's 2018-19 season got off to a solid start, playing in various spots in the lineup. He had nine goals by Dec. 13 but then went through a long goal drought (27 games) before hitting the double-digit mark for the third straight season. Overall, he has 10 goals and 20 points -- all at even strength, one more point that Simmond's 19-even strength points (11g-8a) among his 27 overall points with the Flyers prior to the trade.
"Kind of halfway through the year, we got bit by the injury bug. Guys were kind of playing all over. Kind of started getting into a little bit of a scoring drought. A little bit of that. Our first line and second line were playing well but we weren't getting a lot of secondary scoring. But I still think I've had a decent year. There's a lot of hockey to be played. I'm excited for that fresh start with a new team," Hartman said.
Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said that, as part of the trade asking price for Simmonds, he wanted to receive a young NHL roster player in return and preferred that to multi-pick or a pick-and-a-prospect offers also came in.
"For the Philadelphia Flyers right now to add a 24-year-old player that can step right into our lineup and play -- Hartman was a first round by Chicago, and last year was traded for a first-round pick as Nashville loaded up for a playoff run-- I think we're getting a young player with upside who can fit into our team. He plays a gritty game, and hopefully he'll help in that regard; help fit into the room and bring another player into the room," Fletcher said.
"I didn't feel it would be right to come back and say [to our players] that we got a pick or an 18-year-old player who might be able to help us in four years. I tried to balance the present with the future. I feel, with Hartman, he hopefully has a present and a future."
Hartman will wear #38 for the Flyers and is even expected to be at the morning skate on Tuesday. Whether he skates or not, he will be available as the Flyers look for back-to-back wins when they take on the Sabres at 7 p.m. on NBCSP & 97.5 The Fanatic.