Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 06/29/14 at 07:20 AM ET
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
The move will make the Flyers worse in 2014-15. The 32-year-old Hartnell, once the top-line running mate for Claude Giroux, could fill the same role for franchise center Ryan Johansen. If ex-Bruin Nathan Horton gets healthy, the three strongmen could join forces to create a mammoth No. 1 line for the Blue Jackets.
“I think he plays exactly the way we want the Blue Jackets to play,” Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said in a news conference following the trade. “He’s hard to play against. When you talk about him as an opponent — you talk to a lot of different sources around the league, people that I know and people he’s been associated with — they all say the same thing: You hate to play against him, but you’d love to have him on your team. That’s the way we feel about him. He was a tough opponent. Somebody you always noticed and somebody you hated from the press box, but you always thought you’d like to have him on your team.”
When power forwards such as Hartnell are in their groove, they are game-changers. They strike fear in defensemen who panic about black eyes and broken noses when they retreat for a puck. Their brawn allows their team to cycle the puck low, tire opponents, and rack up scoring chances. They make their linemates braver.
There is a reason Milan Lucic scored a $6 million annual payday when his previous contract expired. It’s the same reason Horton, Lucic’s former partner in crime, landed a seven-year, $37.1 million blockbuster last summer. And it’s the same reason David Clarkson swiped a seven-year, $36.75 million bonanza from the Maple Leafs.
It’s a case of supply and demand. There are very few players who can skate, score, hit, and fight. There are even fewer who can fulfill those tasks as the odometer reaches higher numbers.
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