Should Scott Hartnell get a contract extension?

Why wouldn't you want five more years of this?


A post by Bill Meltzer on what Scott Hartnell's next contract should look like led to a discussion in the comments on today's Fly-By of what he is worth. I decided to take a look at what we should expect from him going forwards.

Was his production this year really an outlier?

A lot of people have proposed that Hartnell made a big jump forwards this year because he was on Claude Giroux's wing, and that this sort of production is what we should expect of him when paired with a superstar playmaker. Yet his even strength production doesn't seem to have changed much:

Year Goals/60 Primary assists/60 Points/60
2008-09 1.26 0.66 2.47
2009-10 0.36 0.89 1.79
2010-11 1.13 0.54 2.16
2011-12 1.04 0.52 2.13

Take away an unlucky dip in his shooting percentage in '09-10 and this is a reasonably modest but steady decline. It's about what you'd expect from a player in the post-prime years from age 26-29, right before scoring starts to really crash in the early 30's.

But why such a strong bump this year? Take a look at Hartnell's power play production:

Year 5v4 TOI/G 5v4 goals 5v4 shots on goal 5v4 shooting percentage
2008-09 2.32 6 21 28.6%
2009-10 2.67 8 32 25.0%
2010-11 2.75 4 19 21.1%
2011-12 3.06 15 57 26.3%

He's always been a phenomenal power play shooter. He got a little more power play time this year with the Flyers drawing a ton of penalties, but the difference wasn't huge. What does seem to be a huge difference is how often the team got him the puck when he was ready to shoot from his favorite spot.

When I started this analysis, I expected the punchline to be something like "he shot 14% on the power play each of the last three years and jumped to 32% this year, no way should the team pay up hoping that continues." Now that I see that the boost actually came from his shot rate, I'm much more encouraged; that might plausibly be a reproducible result of Giroux's passing and/or Laviolette's scheme.

We've seen players like Dany Heatley suffer declines at even strength as they age but continue to produce extremely well on the power play. It's always scary to pony up a big contract after a single stand-out season, but if that power play shot rate continues early this year, I wouldn't be against the idea of extending his contract for a few more years.

Something in the $5M per year range is pretty good for a 30-goal scorer. Given how deadly his power play shot is, if they continue to get him those power play shots (and this is the big "if" -- I want to see evidence that it's reproducible before I'm signing him), he should be able to stay in the 30-goal range over the next few years.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Broad Street Hockey

You must be a member of Broad Street Hockey to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Broad Street Hockey. You should read them.

Join Broad Street Hockey

You must be a member of Broad Street Hockey to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Broad Street Hockey. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9355_tracker