FLYERS EXTEND HARTNELL; PREDS EXTEND FISHER, SIGN HANNAN
The Philadelphia Flyers have announced the contract extension of left-winger Scott Hartnell, at 6-years and $28.5m. The 30-year old was a former high-draft pick (6th overall in 2000) of the Nashville Predators, and had a career year this season with 37 goals and 30 assists. $4.75m per year seems like a pretty good deal for a player like this, although this contract won’t kick in until 2013, meaning he’ll be 37 when entering the last year of his deal. Will he still be worth that at that age? I seriously doubt it. I reckon Hartnell can probably manage another season at a similar level, although probably with less goals – whilst he did have a high shooting percentage of 15.95%, and that will likely be unrepeatable, he has hovered around the 13-14% level for several years now. However, Hartnell plays a very physical style, and with 843 NHL games of that type of play already, I wouldn’t expect his body to handle many more seasons in a feature role as he is currently in with the Flyers. Still a valuable player though, even with reduced scoring, I just don’t see him being worth $4.5m for another 6 years.
In other news, the Nashville Predators have extended centre Mike Fisher to a $4.2m per season, 2-year contract. Fisher is actually a fair comparable for Hartnell, albeit with slightly less scoring ability, but is a high quality second line centre, and a valuable piece of their team. Fisher is 32, and the Predators were sensible enough to realise that after another 2 years of play Fisher will likely decline in capability, and so will be able to either re-sign him to a cheaper contract depending on how he looks at that age, or easily move him at the trade deadline to a team looking for help for the playoffs.
Finally, the Predators also earlier this week signed veteran defenceman Scott Hannan to a 1 year, $1m contract. This is a great deal for the Predators. He will in no way replace the loss of Ryan Suter (who earlier left via free agency to sign a monster contract with Minnesota), but is a solid, experienced presence on the blue-line. Hannan played last year with Calgary, where he scored 12 points in 78 games. Hannan is 33 now, and no longer the defensive force he used to be, but is still fully capable of being part of a high-quality NHL defence corps, and this is an absolute bargain of a contract, even for a player who is probably winding down his great career.