Though it had become apparent that he would not find an NHL contract this offseason, veteran forward Scott Hartnell confirmed it today when announcing his retirement on Twitter. Hartnell released a long statement thanking every organization he has played for in his 17-year career, and admitting that he’s now looking forward to spending more time with his wife and son.
Hartnell, 36, got a chance last season to return to the team that drafted him sixth overall in 2000 and suited up for 62 regular season games for the Nashville Predators. Finding a way to contribute 13 goals—cracking double digits for the 15th time in his career—he was nevertheless held out of all but four postseason contests and not retained at the end of the year. Those 62 games raised his career total to 1,249 which actually puts him 89th on the all-time list and just ahead of other legendary forwards like Sergei Fedorov, Daniel Alfredsson and Patrik Elias. Hartnell was never quite the offensive player that those three were, but still will finish his career with 707 points and an incredible resume of consistency.
Drafted because of his mix of physicality, leadership and offense for the Prince Albert Raiders, Hartnell assumed a limited role for the Predators right away and played in 75 games as an 18-year old in 2000-01. Though he registered just two goals and 16 points, it would be the only time he would be kept under 12 goals or 24 points in a full season for his entire career. In fact, other than his rookie season, his final season and the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, Hartnell would recorded at least 33 points each year while reaching a career-high of 67 in 2011-12 with the Philadelphia Flyers. Those consistent point totals were accompanied by consistent penalty minutes, as the in-your-face forward will finish with 1,809.
With stops in Nashville, Philadelphia and Columbus, Hartnell quickly became a fan favorite and an easy to hate enemy for rival teams all around the league. Getting under the opponent’s skin and riling up a fan base came natural to him, but there is little doubt that he was well respected around the league for his all-out play style.