Ryan Hartman’s performance in the 2023-24 season is of massive importance for both the Minnesota Wild and Hartman himself. The 29-year-old American forward is on an expiring $1.7MM cap hit, and is coming off of an uneven campaign. Due to his affordable cap hit and the Wild’s relative lack of center options, Hartman has at times been thrust into a first-line center role for the Wild, something he may have to do once again this season.
The Athletic’s Joe Smith reports that Hartman, who is still working his way back from an upper-body injury, was on the ice today at Wild camp but still isn’t facing the rigors of contact drills. After playing in all 82 games during 2021-22, Hartman only managed 59 in 2022-23. Hartman’s health is going to be something to monitor for Wild fans hoping to see their club get off to a fast start, as if he’s healthy he has in the past been an impactful, productive top-six player.
Some other injury updates:
- CapFriendly relays word that Florida Panthers sniper Carter Verhaeghe is out day-to-day with muscle tightness, and is “expected to be fine for start of season.” After scoring 42 goals and 73 points last season Verhaeghe cemented his place as one of the Panthers’ most important players. The Panthers are looking to make the playoffs in an Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference that figures to be fiercely competitive, so the team will have to hope that their leading goal scorer will be back to 100% by opening night in October.
- Columbus Blue Jackets captain Boone Jenner left practice yesterday due to an injury, but according to The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline, returned to the ice today. That’s important news for Columbus, who is likely to rely on Jenner heavily not only as their most experienced center, but also as a crucial leader and potential mentor to number-three pick Adam Fantilli. Fantilli began training camp centering Alexandre Texier and Patrick Laine. Playing as a top-six center is one of the most difficult jobs in the NHL, especially for a rookie, so it will be crucial that Jenner remains healthy in order to help manage the pressure that ends up placed on Fantilli’s shoulders.