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Hartman excited by Guerin hire, eyes return to playoffs with Wild

'The guy's won at every level,' forward says of new GM

by Tracey Myers @Tramyers_NHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

Ryan Hartman is ready to help the Minnesota Wild return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs and said he thinks Bill Guerin, who was named general manager Wednesday, is a key component in achieving that goal.

"I mean the guy's won at every level," the forward said of Guerin, who won the Stanley Cup twice as assistant general manager with the Pittsburgh Penguins (2016, 2017) and twice as a player, with the Penguins in 2009 and the New Jersey Devils in 1995.

"I don't think it's a coincidence that certain guys, you find winning follows them. It has a lot to do with their presence in the room, the winning attitude, the motivation. Obviously, he won two as a player and two in Pittsburgh. I think we're really excited to have him and looking forward to meeting him."

 

[RELATED: Guerin hired by Wild as general manager]

 

Hartman, who will turn 25 on Sept. 20, agreed to a two-year, $3.8 million contract (average annual value $1.9 million) with the Wild on July 1. He had 26 points (12 goals, 14 assists) in 83 games with the Philadelphia Flyers and Nashville Predators last season. The Wild (37-36-9) finished seven points behind the Colorado Avalanche for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference, missing the postseason for the first time since 2012.

Video: Fenton discusses signing Zuccarello and Hartman

"There are a lot of guys, a lot of good hockey players, a lot of leaders who aren't satisfied by missing the playoffs," Hartman said of his new teammates. "I went through it too. That hunger's there. From reading postseason interviews, the word I've seen a lot is 'unacceptable.' I think it's something everyone's been working really hard this summer, and I think coming into camp, it's going to be a tough camp. Everyone's trying to earn a position, earn a spot in the lineup, and it's good, friendly competition."

Hartman, who was selected by the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round (No. 30) of the 2013 NHL Draft, has been traded three times in the past two seasons. The Predators acquired him from the Blackhawks on Feb. 26, 2018, before trading him to the Flyers for forward Wayne Simmonds a year later on Feb. 25. Hartman was traded to the Dallas Stars by the Flyers for forward Tyler Pitlick on June 24 but didn't receive a qualifying offer as a restricted free agent, making him an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Hartman said he didn't find out about the Stars trading for, and not qualifying him, until June 26. He was on vacation in Northwestern Ontario, where there was no cell phone service, and received word from the pilot who flew him and his friends to a lake in that area.

"I'm helping him pull the plane in and he says, 'Hey, are you Ryan? You need to call your agent. You just got traded to Dallas, I think.' That's how I found out," Hartman said. "It was kind of nice [finding out] there, you know? I had no outside noise, I had no one in my ear telling me I should do this, I should do that. At the end of the day, it was probably the best place it could have happened."

Hartman, who has 89 points (42 goals, 47 assists) in 245 regular-season games and three points (two goals, one assist) in 13 playoff games, has had had a full offseason of training, something he didn't get last year after having shoulder surgery in May 2018. 

"I'm on week 16 of summer training now," Hartman said. "It's one of the longest summers I've ever had after my first time missing the playoffs, so the hunger's definitely there to get back."

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