Scott Hartnell agreed to waive his no-movement clause and go to the Columbus Blue Jackets, willingly.
The former Flyer left wing said Monday evening that he was both “shocked and upset” when Flyers general manager Ron Hextall approached him five days ago about a trade and waiving his no-movement clause and needed time to digest things.
“I loved my time there [in Philadelphia],” Hartnell said. “But sometimes it’s time to move on and try something new. ... It was pretty clear that the team that wants you is a better place than the team that doesn’t want you. I’m pretty excited about that.”
Hartnell said that Hextall told him Columbus was the main focus of where the Flyers wanted to deal him, although other clubs inquired too.
“He decided it was best for me to move on from the Flyers,” Hartnell said. “To be honest, I was pretty shocked at first. I was upset and a little angry. I took a few days to look at the situation. It was hard.
“It was not easy. A lot of emotions. At the end of the day, I decided that Columbus is an up-and-coming team. They have young, great players. It was the right decision for me to go to a team that was very excited to have me.”
Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said he a long discussion with Hartnell.
Kekalainen said Hartnell asked him a number of questions before the trade Monday that saw him leave the Flyers for another former Flyer, R.J. Umberger.
“He asked if we were committed to winning,” Kekalainen said on the team’s website. “That was his only concern wherever he was going to go; he said ‘I’m 32 years old, I have a lot of money, but I want to win.’ And that’s basically the question I wanted to hear and the answer I wanted to give.
“He had a lot of questions. He wanted me to talk about the team, where we’re heading and how I felt about the future. The question was ‘can we win, can we be better in the future? Why?’ That was the hard question that he wanted to ask me … that’s all he wanted to do in the future. He wanted to go to a team that he feels has a chance to win the Stanley Cup.”
He said he never “wanted to leave Philadelphia” and that his best memories were the Flyers 2010 Stanley Cup Final run that ended at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks.
He also cited playing alongside Claude Giroux and Jaromir Jagr as one of his career highlights.
Hartnell has terrific net presence and will a solid power-forward addition. He had a tendency to take nights off but his only real flaw here was an unnerving capacity to take a bad penalty at the wrong time.
At the same time, Hartnell was a blunt, honest player who owned up to his mistakes and made for great quotes in the dressing room. In many ways, he fit the profile of a Philly athlete.
He joins a Blue Jackets roster that has hope for the future with Ryan Johansen, Cam Atkinson, Brandon Dubinsky, James Wisniewski, Jack Johnson, Nathan Horton and ex-Flyers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, a Vezina Trophy winner, to name a few.
This much is clear. The Jackets are on the rise and have been.
Now they’ll see if Hartnell gives them an extra push.