Chicago Blackhawks prospect Ryan Hartman has been compared to Andrew Shaw, but will he be able to fill those skates this season?
Has there ever been a Chicago Blackhawks prospect that has lived off his initial shift longer than Ryan Hartman? I know everyone remembers, because the highlight film has never gone away since he made his debut with the Chicago Blackhawks, of that huge hit Hartman made on his opening night at the United Center. I’m pretty sure it made Pat Foley shed a tear when it took place he was so excited. If you happened to forget, here is the video of the Hartman hit.
There of course are some ironic things going on in this video. Andrew Shaw is on the ice during the shift — the player Hartman has been compared to the most. The other one is that after Hartman makes one big hit and another good hit, he gets a jolt by Jordin Tootoo, who most likely will be on the roster come opening night in Chicago.
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The question for me is can Hartman fill the skates of Shaw. Shaw of course was a lunch pail type of guy who was annoying, could throw his body around though smallish in stature and who had some good hands in front of the net on special teams. That sure seems like a lot for Hartman to replace if he makes the team out of training camp.
The thing is when you look at what Hartman has done in Chicago so far isn’t much. Granted he was playing on a bottom-six line so you don’t expect him to fill up the scoresheet every game, but after those first two hits he didn’t have much to show for his efforts. He played in five games with no points and and 11 hits. His legend came from that first shift, but he really didn’t even throw his body around that much in the final few games, which got him a one-way ticket back to Rockford.
He returned last season for three games and picked up his first NHL assist, but his hitting wasn’t even noticeable in his three appearances.
Last season in Rockford he scored 13 times with 24 assists and 130 penalty minutes. This kind of stat line if it transferred over to the NHL would be close to Shaw-like.
The question is can he do all those little things even when he owns the fact that he has a Shaw type of game. No matter what you thought of Shaw he was a fan favorite and went to areas of the ice others wouldn’t go, including in front of the net.
Can Hartman do that? I question the fact that he will be able to even though as a Chicago Blackhawks fans I want him to take that role over and own it. Sure, eight games is a very small sample size to be looking for things to be positive or negative about a player, but what we have seen from Hartman was a player who could disappear on the ice, which is something Shaw did little of during his tenure in Chicago.
That being said without Shaw around maybe Hartman owns that role and blossoms into the player that we witnessed throw that big check on his first shift on a nightly basis.
I’m not sold on Hartman but I would like to be dead wrong on this one! What do you think Hartman can become this upcoming season in Chicago?