Welcome to Philadelphia, Ryan Hartman.
The newest member of the Philadelphia Flyers made his presence felt in his first game in Orange and Black. Hartman leveled Rasmus Dahlin with a hard, clean hit before wrestling Zach Bogosian (who had jumped him) to the ice. That earned the Flyers a power play early in a game that they were already leading 1-0.
“It kind of put me into the game a little bit and it got me ready,” Hartman said. “Anytime you can get your adrenaline going a little a bit, it always helps when you might have a little nerves.”
Even before taking the ice, the hard-nosed forward said he plays “a hard style, physical game. I get to the dirty areas, get in the corners … that’s the kind of hockey I like.” He showed that from the get-go and everyone took notice. He quickly ingratiated himself to the fans and his teammates alike with his big hit.
Hartman received quite an ovation after the hit, and he plans on making that a common occurrence at the Wells Fargo Center.
“Yeah, it sounded like they loved it,” he said. “I plan on bringing a lot more of that.”
Hartman was credited with four hits in total while recording four shots on goal and two blocked shots in 14:23 of action. He didn’t record a point, but he set the tone early and was instrumental in setting up his line’s goal.
One of Hartman’s two blocked shots resulted in James van Riemsdyk’s goal to give the Flyers a 3-1 lead. He ended 15 seconds of pressure by the Sabres as they were getting set up in the offensive zone and sent the Flyers the other way.
After blocking the shot, Hartman got up and sped down the ice to get himself open for a lead pass from Scott Laughton, who had gotten a quick pass from JVR. Hartman got the puck in deep and rimmed it around the boards, which allowed the Flyers to get set up.
Less than 20 seconds after Hartman’s blocked shot, JVR deflected home Robert Hägg’s point shot for a goal. Now that’s turning defense into offense.
Some weren’t sure what to expect from Hartman, and although we have to keep in mind that it’s just one game, he showed promising signs in his first game as a Flyer. He talked the talk and walked the walk about his hard-nosed style, he showed off his speed on a few rushes, and he did the little things right.
Hartman won’t be asked to fill Wayne Simmonds’ shoes — no one can do that — but he can fill in some of the gaps. He has the tenacity and hockey sense needed in the Flyers’ middle-six forward group right now. He’ll likely stay on the third line for a while, but he could become a guy that gets a chance in the top six if the team needs a jump.
On Monday night fans were feeling heartbroken due to the departure of Wayne Simmonds, but on Tuesday night Ryan Hartman softened the blow with a strong debut for the Flyers.