Hartman Ready For Regular NHL Minutes
When the Chicago Blackhawks drafted Ryan Hartman in 2013, they knew they were getting a blue-collar, lunch pail type of player who would bring a degree of hard work and grit to the organization. Showcasing his talents in the OHL with the Plymouth Whalers, as well as with the US National Development Program, Hartman has already had a decorated career at the age of 21.
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The Illinois native has won three different medals with the United States, winning Silver in the U17 World Hockey Championships in 2011, and Golds at the U18 World Junior Championships in 2012 and U20 World Junior Championships in 2013. On top of that, Hartman was named to the CHL Top Prospects game after tallying 60 points (23 Goals, 37 Assists) in his first season with Plymouth.
From there, Hartman would make his professional debut with the Rockford IceHogs in 2014. Skating in nine games, Hartman made a big impact right away as he scored seven points (3 Goals, 4 Assists) in his first taste of professional hockey. In his first full season with the IceHogs, Hartman was fifth on the team in scoring with 37 points (13 Goals, 24 Assists), while racking up 120 penalty minutes. Hartman would also make his NHL debut in the same season, making his first appearance on February 13, 2015 against the New Jersey Devils.
While Hartman hasn’t been able to consistently play with the Blackhawks at the NHL level, playing in eight games total over the last two seasons, Hartman has made a significant impact with the IceHogs and looks to have a shot at making the Blackhawks roster out of training camp this summer. With the looming contract situations that face Chicago and some of their key players, and especially after the organization made it clear they are focusing on building from within for their own future, Hartman has his best chance at solid NHL minutes in 2016-17.
Andrew Shaw 2.0?
Speaking of certain contract situations that the Blackhawks are dealing with, Andrew Shaw becomes a restricted free agent this summer and the ability to re-sign him is not great for the Blackhawks,currently. Shaw, a versatile player who has seen minutes in essentially every situation for the Blackhawks over the last three or four years, brings a level of grittiness and hustle to the
Blackhawks that sometimes gets lost amidst the high-end talent of players like Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Duncan Keith (Not to say they aren’t hard-working players). But if Shaw is unable to reach an agreement with the Blackhawks, he would hit the open market and would see a significant increase in his pay from other clubs.
If Shaw were to leave the Blackhawks, a solid candidate to take his place would be Hartman. Much like Shaw, Hartman plays a physical game while not being the most physically intimidating player. Standing at 5’11” and weighing 190 pounds, Hartman uses every inch of himself on the ice to gain the upper hand on his opponents. Hartman is a player that can get into the greasy areas of the ice and mix it up to produce offense, or to kill of a penalty. Like Shaw in Chicago, Hartman has been used in nearly every situation for the IceHogs. While losing Shaw wouldn’t be a ton of fun for Chicago or their fans, it could open up the door for Hartman to make his impact with the organization.
As previously stated, Ryan Hartman could be the beneficiary of Andrew Shaw’s potential exit from the Blackhawks organization. Hartman has two years left on his current deal and is in a position to have a now or never mentality when it comes to having a regular spot on the Blackhawks roster.
Playing with a grinder mentality and style, while still being able to be a scoring threat on the ice is a major plus for Hartman moving forward in his career. If he has an impressive summer and Andrew Shaw is no longer a Blackhawk when the puck drops in October, Hartman could very well see his first full-fledged NHL season in 2016-17.
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