UPDATE, 5:42 p.m.: Hartnell says the Flyers approached him and that he was initially angry but ultimately waived his no-trade clause because he wanted to go somewhere where he was in the plans. Full story here.
ORIGINAL STORY: Scott Hartnell has a no-trade clause in his contract, so he had to agree to today's trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets. That seems strange, given that Hartnell seemed to love Philadelphia more than just about anybody. Why would he even agree?
Well, it would certainly make a lot more sense if he was the one who actually requested the trade.
Talk going around is Scott Hartnell requested Flyers trade him. Has no-movement clause.— James Mirtle (@mirtle) June 23, 2014
I'd be really, really curious what happened to facilitate that, because it seems out of nowhere and really out of left field. I mean, his Twitter bio literally said "love Flyer fans, love Philly." Unless he's completely full of shit and a wonderful actor, Hartnell loved this city and loved playing for the Flyers, and he showed it more often than anybody. He was more active in the community than any other individual Flyers player. Something must have changed, and it must have happened very recently.
Maybe he didn't get along with Craig Berube. Maybe he saw that he was going to be pushed down in the lineup. Maybe he's 32 years old and doesn't think the Flyers will win the Cup in the next several years. All we can do is speculate, unfortunately.
But if he did request a trade, it really screwed the Flyers. Put them in an awful position. His contract is ugly, will be uglier in three years, and the Flyers were pretty much forced to take back something just as ugly -- forced to lose the trade, basically.
On the bright side, at least this position would absolve Ron Hextall and Co. of a bit of guilt. If this was a trade demand, then the Flyers were just merely doing all they could to get back value and avoid having a disgruntled player on the ice.