A few weeks ago, we here at Blackhawk Up made the statement that the Blackhawks need another player like Dave Bolland was in order to win. Bolland was a “shutdown forward”, which means that he played just physically enough to throw the opposing teams top player off of their game, but did not go so far as to draw bad penalties. You can check out that great piece here.
Andrew Shaw’s name has been thrown out there to fill that role, but he takes some pretty bad penalties. There are definitely a few forwards in the system who could develop into that type of player, but I believe that the team needs to look no further than 2013 first round draft pick Ryan Hartman. Hartman has all the tools to be that type of player. He has been described as an abrasive player, but a deceptive goal scorer. That is the epitome of what Bolland was about.
Another player that Hartman has been widely compared to, though, is Shaw. In the Futures Friday article on Ryan Hartman, we even went so far as to say that Shaw and Hartman wouldn’t be able to play on the same team because they are so similar.
Right after Hartman was drafted in June of 2013, an article in the Northwest Herald had this to say about him:
[Hartman] is a high-energy, Scrappy Doo player who has drawn comparisons to antagonists such as Andrew Shaw and Dave Bolland.
Read that entire piece here.
There is a fine line between the type of player that Bolland was for the Hawks, and the type of player that Shaw is. How Hartman develops will determine which player he will be compared to when it is all said and done. He has all of the attributes to be that “shutdown forward” that the Hawks need in order to win a Stanley Cup.
Hartman did show positive development in his last two years with the Plymouth Whalers in the OHL. He brought his penalty minute (PIM) numbers down from 120 in 2012-13 to 91 PIMs in 2013-14. His PIMs in the OHL nearly mirror Bolland’s numbers from his Major Junior days with the London Knights.
Hartman will definitely need a couple more years to prove that he can play at the NHL level, and show what type of player he will become, but it is good to know that the Hawks have a player with the potential to play that crucial role already in the system. A full season with a player like Hartman might just be what the Rockford IceHogs, the Blackhawks AHL affiliate, need to make the playoffs, which they failed to do last season.
When Hartman does make the jump to the NHL, and if he develops the right way, he may be the unheralded key to future banners hanging in the United Center rafters, and he is just fine with that role. He has mentioned in many articles that he loves the physical aspect of the game, and he is “not afraid to take on the big guy”.
The type of player Dave Bolland was for the Hawks is not a glorious or heralded position, but it is always crucial if a team has Stanley Cup aspirations. With his combination of deceptive goal scoring and defensive physicality, Ryan Hartman can become that player.
What do you think? Will Hartman become the “rat”-like player that Bolland was, or will he become a “honey badger” like Shaw? Leave us your opinion in the comments below!
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