Paul Fenton did a lot of things wrong during his short tenure as general manager of the Minnesota Wild. Signing Ryan Hartman to a two-year, $3.8 million was not one of those questionable decisions.
In the first game of the preseason, Hartman came up an assist shy of recording a Gordie Howe hat trick. The former first round pick showed the Wild what he was capable of and then some.
“You try to show everything you have,” Hartman said. “You got to show the hard work you put in the summer. You try to hit the season full speed. It’s good to get the first one out of the way.”
The 24-year-old is described as a player who can get underneath the opponent’s skin. It was apparent watching the Wild a year ago that they needed to play with more of an edge. Hartman proved that he could help remedy that problem by dropping Tye Felhaber in the second period.
Shortly after displaying his tenacity, Hartman flashed his offensive potential by scoring a shorthanded goal to tie the game at 1-1. The former first round pick finished the night with three shots on goal.
In his career, Hartman has 42 goals. This past season he scored 12 goals and recorded 14 assists to finish with 26 points.
“There is good offense there,” Wild coach, Bruce Boudreau said in his postgame press conference. “It looked like he knew what he was doing. That’s why I gave him a shot in overtime.”
Hartman is currently projected to skate on the fourth line with fellow winger, Marcus Foligno and be centered by Joel Ericksson Ek. There is no denying that this line will bring plenty of energy.
“I thought they played well together,” Boudreau said. “That was our best line.”
It’s only the preseason, and it’s only one game, but it’s easy to see why the former general manager signed Hartman. He’s going to be physical and bring energy to the ice. The 24 year old winger also showed that he may have untapped offensive potential. Needless to say, Hartman made quite the first impression.