The Columbus Blue Jackets just bought out Scott Hartnell’s contract and the New York Islanders need to avoid falling into the trap and signing him.
I know how Garth Snow thinks. Most New York Islanders fans do and that’s why you should be nervous about him throwing money at someone past their prime that the Isles don’t really need. Looking at you Nikolai Kulemin and Mikhail Grabovski.
Oh it’s almost too easy of a trap for Garth Snow to fall into. I can see it already happening on Islanders twitter. With the Blue Jackets buying out Scott Hartnell I can already hear the rustling of the fans who can’t wait to get their grubby mitts on another grind-it-out agitator.
I can hear it now “Oh but he put up 60 points a few years ago” . Yes, this is true but there’s also a reason why Columbus decided to part ways with him. He’s regressed quickly over the past two years.
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We’ll start with the 2014-15 numbers that people are going to run to first 28; goals 32 assists for 60 points. He followed that up with 23 goals and 49 points in 2015-16 and then this past year it dropped to 13 goals and 37 points.
In addition to his production dropping off his shots have dropped down significantly. In that 2014-15 season he put 204 shots on goal. This past year? Just 104. Yep, a 100 shot difference in two-years.
That 2014-15 season came at age 32, the 2017-18 season Hartnell will be 35 and if the Isles make the playoffs there’s a good chance he’ll be playing on his 36th birthday on April 18, 2018.
Hartnell’s cap hit was $4.75 million a year so what do you think he gets on the open market? A two-year $6-$8 million deal maybe. Does that sound so appealing for a guy who is rapidly on the decline?
No, if Garth gave him a deal with a $3.5 million cap hit it’d be an utter waste. In fact if there was another expansion draft in a year Garth would probably be trying to do the same thing he did with Mikahil Grabovski’s contract. I don’t think he’d strike lightning in a bottle twice.
In his day Scott Hartnell was a good player. If this was 2011 maybe we’re having a different conversation, but we’re in 2017 and Hartnell is on the back nine of his career. Garth needs to add a player still in their prime, not someone who you’re hoping stays healthy and performs like a younger version of himself. Father time always wins.