Giroux on Hartman: High hockey IQ with a gritty side

Ryan Hartman

VOORHEES – Ryan Hartman knows he can’t be the second coming of Wayne Simmonds, so it doesn’t sound like he’s even going to try.

Instead, the newest Flyer will just do what he does best, which is be himself.

Hartman hurried to fly to Philadelphia from Nashville after Monday’s trade involving Simmonds and made it just in time to catch about the last five minutes of Tuesday morning’s practice at the Skate Zone.

If there’s a guy the 24-year-old winger might want to be compared to, it’s Tampa Bay Lightning’s Ryan Callahan.

Callahan packs a lot of wallop from a small frame, much like the 6-foot-0, 180-pound Hartman.

“I like to play that hard, sandpaper-style,’’ Hartman said. “Maybe before I broke into the NHL, I looked up to some guys.

“My dad was a big Mark Messier fan. I’m not as big as him, but I always watched clips of him. Ryan Callahan was a guy I always watched growing up. You try to take a little bit out of each guy, their game, then formulate your own mindset.’’

Hartman, who will wear No. 38 in Tuesday night’s game against Buffalo, was born on Hilton Head Island, S.C. but says he grew up in the Chicago area. He said he is familiar with a couple Flyers, including defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere. The two played together on Team USA in the World Junior Championships.

In Nashville this season, Hartman got off to a good start but then, like a number of Predators, went into a slump.

“It was a good start,’’ he said. “I think overall our team went into a little bit of a slump. Guys were struggling. Mine carried a little longer than others. That happens in people’s hockey careers. It’s part of the game. It’s how you get yourself out of it. You just try to nip it in the bud as soon as you can.

“I was able to get out of it pretty recently. I feel I’ve been playing really good hockey.’’

Hartman was traded from the Blackhawks, the dream which drafted him 30th overall in 2013, on deadline day last year, so Monday’s didn’t come as much of a shock.

“You can never be prepared for it I guess,’’ he said. “The first time it happened (he was sent to Nashville for a first-round draft pick) I had never experienced a trade before but now I have at least one under my belt.

“It’s part of the job. It happened last year at the trade deadline. I had to fly into Winnipeg, play a divisional game on four hours of sleep. So, it’s part of the process, go home and get a nap today and get myself prepared.’’

As an opponent, Flyers captain Claude Giroux has been impressed with Hartman’s play.

“Very smart player,’’ Giroux said. “I think his hockey IQ is very high. He’s got some skills, grit and the orange and black is going to look good on him.’’

>Guarding against post-Simmonds letdown

With Simmonds gone, the Flyers will have to regroup for these final 20 games and guard against an emotional letdown.

“He made us feel like we were all in this together,’’ Giroux said. “When I had my really bad season three years ago, Wayne was a guy who really supported me. He kind of made sure I was OK. That’s just the kind of teammate he is.

“It’s important we move forward, getting this team moving in the right direction. We need to find a way to do that without Wayne. As hard as it is, we have to do it.’’

Seem strange not seeing Simmonds sitting at his No. 17 locker?

“It’s pretty bizarre,’’ Giroux said. “I think it’s going to take a while until we get used to this.’’

Added coach Scott Gordon: “With the stakes being high with these games, it will allow our focus to be on that. That’s not to say the players’ thoughts aren’t with ‘Simmer.’ We’re sad to see him leave.’’

>Gudas back but Myers stays in

When Radko Gudas returned from his two-game suspension, there was a question of whether defenseman Philippe Myers would return to the bench.

The answer came Tuesday morning when Gordon said he would dress seven defensemen for the Buffalo game.

Earlier in the day, forward Justin Bailey was returned to the Phantoms and it looks like Phil Varone will be a healthy scratch against the Sabres.

Myers, who will make his fourth start, said he’s been working on the finer points of his game.

“I appreciate being in the lineup and I’m not taking it for granted,’’ said Myers, who is already a plus-2 even though the Flyers are 1-2 in his three starts. “Trying to live in the moment and bring the same intensity every night.

“It’s a privilege to be out there. I’m trying not to force things, keeping it simple. . .if the jump is there, I’m going. Have a good gap. Having an active stick on the rush against. Bring consistency to my game.’’

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About Wayne Fish 2443 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.

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