Frank Seravalli: Hartnell signs extension with Flyers

Hartnell
Hartnell
Posted: August 22, 2012

COMING OFF his best professional season and heading into a contract year, Scott Hartnell knew he was due for a big payday sooner or later. Even with all of the labor uncertainty surrounding the NHL, Hartnell did not not need to wait until a new collective bargaining agreement was hashed out.

Hartnell, 30, knew he wanted to play in Philadelphia.

On Monday, Hartnell proved that by inking a fresh 6-year, $28.5 million contract extension that will keep him with the Flyers through 2018-19. According to Renaud Lavoie, of the website RDS.ca, Hartnell's new deal contains a no-movement clause.

"I think I've got a lot of years left, a lot left in the tank," Hartnell said. "I think last year was a great example, personally. I plan on playing all 6 years and playing my heart out all 6 years."

Hartnell's new extension was a win for both sides.

For the Flyers, they were able to lock up their leading goal scorer from last season with only a marginal raise to his salary-cap hit. Hartnell counted for $4.2 million against the salary cap last season, and his number will move to just $4.75 million starting in 2013-14. The forward will be able to continue to help Giroux grow as a long-term, permanent fixture on his line.

The deal is front-loaded, according to the Canadian Press, paying him $6 million in 2013-14, followed by $5 million in each of the next three seasons, before dropping to $4.5 million and ultimately $3 million in 2018-19.

For Hartnell, regardless of the labor strife, he was able to stay in the city he's come to love, with the ultimate security both in term and in the fact he controls his own destiny - even if it meant giving up a few dollars in the short term.

Hartnell, one of the NHL Players Association's most active players in bargaining, acknowledged he considered waiting to sign until after a new CBA with owners was reached - especially since he already had next season remaining on his current deal. The NHL's original July 13 proposal calls for a 24 percent rollback in salaries and a 5-year term limit on new deals.

Besides, Hartnell posted a career-high 37 goals last year on a line with Giroux and Jaromir Jagr - good for sixth in the league, tying him with Ilya Kovalchuk, Phil Kessel and former Hart Trophy winner Corey Perry. Those numbers, as well as 16 power-play goals, will be tough to duplicate.

And few teams would be lining up to hand him a 6-year deal next summer at age 31.

"I don't think my value would have changed that much," Hartnell acknowledged. "Who knows when a player slows down? [General manager Paul] Holmgren saw something in me a little different than years past. I have more confidence in myself. The way I believe I can play, I can keep up the pace I had last year for a bunch of years."

Hartnell, the shaggy-haired spark plug, has been incredibly durable. He has missed only three games in five seasons with the Flyers. If he plays all seven seasons worth of games, he will finish second all-time in Flyers history (only to Bobby Clarke) with 981 games played.

Hartnell, though, is focusing on the future. Watching Giroux continue to explode, Wayne Simmonds sign a new deal, and Jake Voracek continue to develop is what motivated him to stay. Even though Jagr signed a contract in July to play in Dallas, Hartnell says the future is bright.

"I give Jaromir Jagr a lot of credit for my success," Hartnell said. "Being focused more on hockey, getting upstairs in the gym, being prepared for practice. I was more into practice with him than I was in my career. I'll take a lot of that, and the success we had, moving forward.

"Mr. Snider made a commitment to me 5 years ago to be a Flyer, and I've loved every second of it. We've got a great team, a great bunch of guys and a great chance to win a Stanley Cup."

Slap shots

Numerous condolences were passed around the hockey world on Monday for Flyers forward Danny Briere, whose mother, Constance Brunet, died Sunday at age 60 . . . Forward Sean Couturier, no longer a rookie, will instruct youth members of the Flyers' hockey school on Tuesday in Voorhees. The participants range in age from 7 to 17, meaning some will be only 2 years younger than Couturier.


Contact Frank Seravalli at seravaf@phillynews.com.

Follow him on Twitter @DNFlyers. For more Flyers coverage and opinion, read his blog at philly.com/FrequentFlyers.

 

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