A beloved National Hockey League veteran admits that he will have to think long and hard about the future of his career this summer.
Following the Nashville Predators disappointing playoff exit at the hands of a very scary looking Winnipeg Jets team the usual questions you expect at the end of a National Hockey League season began to crop up. One of those questions focused on the future of veteran forward Scott Hartnell and what that future holds for him after his one year contract with the Nashville Predators runs out this summer.
Hartnell signed a one year deal last summer worth $1 million and although he would go on to appear in just 62 regular season games during the 2017-2018 NHL season, and also saw limited play in the postseason, his playoff heroics did not go unnoticed by the Predators organization, their fans, and certainly not head coach Peter Laviolette who continued to lean on Hartnell after some clutch performances. That being said though he is 36 years old and there were questions about a potential retirement even prior to this season, after the Predators playoff exit the question came up again.
"I'll take some time away to think about it," Hartnell said as per the Tennessean. "These last couple months, just wondering if I still have it, if I could still skate. I thought I played pretty solid, but your heart's got to be there too with it, and that passion. I feel like it's there."
There will be no one who questions Hartnell's heart after the performance he displayed during the NHL post season but the mere fact that Hartnell is now admitting that he will need time to make a decision is huge. It's a clear indication that Hartnell himself realizes that he may no longer have the same level of drive that he once had to play the game, and after so many years in the league you can see why that would be the case.
During his career Hartnell has appeared in a whopping 1249 NHL games, all of which were played with either the Nashville Predators, Philadelphia Flyers or Columus blue Jackets. Hartnell was not only a solid player on the ice recording 327 career goals, and 387 career assists for a total of 707 career points but he also quickly became a fan favorite, especially in Nashville and Philadelphia. In fact when the decision was made y the Flyers to trade the heart and soul forward to the Columbus Blue Jackets, fans in Philadelphia were quick to express their outrage. The move was largely considered to be a cap saving measure from the Flyers but the acquisition of R.J. Umberger in exchnage for Hartnell never sat well with flyers in Philly.
The comments from Hartnell today of course leave plenty of room for a return next year, he does say after all that he still believes that the fire is burning within him. If it is the end of his storied career however he can rest easy knowing that he will be remembered fondly by the fans who cheered for him during his career.