We continue our annual, player-by-player look at the 2010-11 Philadelphia Flyers. In no particular order, we'll analyze one player per day (or so) over the next few weeks. Up next, the man with a six different helmet sizes, Scott Hartnell.
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#19 / Left Wing / Philadelphia Flyers
Expectations: I think the overwhelming expectation for Hartnell's season was to just have him build upon his 2010 playoff run. It's not a secret that he played poorly during the 2009-10 regular season, and he even said as much at various points during the year. In last year's grade, we credited him for stepping up in the playoffs, putting his issues in the rear view mirror and becoming a vital player in the Flyers' run to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Building upon that run and keeping up the chemistry with Ville Leino and Danny Briere was key to having success in 2010-11 for Hartnell.
Another year has passed, and the chatter about Scott Hartnell's future in Philadelphia continues. If you were to poll Flyers fans right now on which player they'd like to see traded to accommodate goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, I'm pretty sure Hartnell and Kris Versteeg would come close to the top of that list, if not finish right at the No. 1 spot.
And it's understandable, especially in Hartnell's case. He gets paid a lot of money to do what he does, and he can score to be sure. 25 goal scorers aren't easy to come by, but on this Flyers team, Hartnell seems disposable or replaceable.
Maybe that shouldn't be held against him, as his 25 goal production is about average for his price bracket -- on the upper end would be Milan Lucic, for example. Maybe he just gets lost in the crowd of 20-plus goal scorers on the team and we take him for granted. But it just feels like something is missing with Hartnell's game.
He's not the best defensive forward in the world and takes a million penalties (not to mention the issues with basic skating), but I'm beginning to think that perhaps our expectations were too high for him, probably because they were so raised with the performance of that line in the 2010 playoffs. Fair or not, Hartnell didn't seem to meet those expectations either way this season, but this is admittedly a weird one to grade.
Grading criteria: We assign grades on a 1 to 10 scale, with 10 being the best. We base our grades on expectations, execution on those expectations and a player's overall potential. A 10 means that the player had a fantastic, expectation-surpassing season. A 1 means that he was horrible and needs to go. Like, yesterday.
The grade: We're going to leave Hartnell's grade up to you. I don't know where on the scale to put him. I feel as though I could justify a 3 or a 4 for several reasons, and I feel like I could justify a 7 or an 8 for several reasons. Cop out? Perhaps, but we all (myself included) hate my grading anyway.