Former Chicago Blackhawks forward Hartman would love to find a more permanent home
Trade deadline day is often a stomach-turning, head-spinning, walking-on-eggshells experience for dozens of players across the NHL.
A fact that Ryan Hartman can certainly attest to.
Hartman first found out how quickly a professional athlete's life can change when the Blackhawks traded him to Nashville on Feb. 26, 2018. In the span of 24 hours, the West Dundee native went from:
• Hanging a TV in his new home.
• Getting a flat tire on his way to practice at MB Ice Arena.
• Learning his hometown team just dealt him to the Predators in exchange for Victor Ejdsell and two draft picks.
One year later, it was déjà vu all over again.
The only difference was -- instead of being on the road -- Hartman was preparing for a pregame nap. Then, at 1:58 p.m. -- two minutes before the deadline -- Nashville GM David Poile rang Hartman's phone.
And Hartman knew exactly what was happening: He was headed to Philadelphia for Wayne Simmonds, a proven scorer with five 25-goal seasons to his name.
"My agent is Simmonds' agent as well," Hartman said when the Flyers were in Chicago to take on the Blackhawks last week. "He heard there were some possibilities. and if Simmonds was going to come to Nashville, I knew I was going to be a part of it."
Last year's trade to Nashville left Hartman with mixed emotions, which comes as no shock as he grew up a huge Hawks fan and was playing with childhood buddy Vinnie Hinostroza. It didn't take long, though, for the gritty, hard-nosed forward to fit in and help the Predators advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
"It's a really cool city," Hartman said. "I made a lot of close friends there. Probably going to a couple of weddings this summer."
After having off-season surgery on his shoulder, Hartman had a strong training camp and exploded out of the gates this season by scoring 9 goals in his first 32 games.
Then Hartman, as well as the Predators, fell on tough times and Poile decided to reignite his team by adding the 30-year-old Simmonds.
"I wasn't playing great," said Hartman, whose goal total sits at 12 after 78 games. "I was not playing (my game), and then you start thinking too much and start trying to do too much."
Despite being on his third team in just over a year, Hartman manages to keep a glass-half-full attitude. There have been new cities to explore. New teammates to meet and friendships to build. Interesting traditions to observe. And different fan bases to get to know.
"It's been short here so far, but I really enjoy this team, the city, and the organization in general is awesome," Hartman said. "Very old school. A lot of history. So it's cool to be a part of."
After the Flyers' 3-1 victory at the United Center on March 21 -- a game in which Hartman blocked a key shot in the third period and nearly scored with three minutes remaining -- the forward stood outside the team's dressing room to see if he'd run into any former teammates.
In some ways, Hartman said it feels like it's been quite a while since he played for the Hawks, "but when you come back it feels pretty short."
Now he'd just like to find a team that wants him long-term.
"No one likes moving around," said Hartman, who will be a restricted free agent this summer. "(My agent and I) talked a little with the (Flyers) organization. Maybe get something done this summer.
"It would be nice to know where I'm going to be for a long period of time."
Ryan Hartman statsSeason, team GP G A Pts.
2016-17, Hawks 76 19 12 31
2017-18, Hawks 57 8 17 25
2017-18, Nash. 21 3 3 6
2018-19, Nash. 64 10 10 20
2018-19, Phil. 14 2 3 5
Totals 240 42 46 88
Note: Also had 1 assist in 8 games from 2014-16 with Hawks