There’s still a bit of mystery as to why Scott Hartnell would waive his no-movement clause just one year into a six-year contract extension with the Philadelphia Flyers to accept a trade to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Flyers GM Ron Hextall would only talk about the speed and versatility of R.J. Umberger, for whom Hartnell was traded, and that the two-year difference in their contract term was a factor.
“That is part of when you look at when making moves,” Hextall told CSN Philly. “That is one thing we certainly factored in. Cap flexibility moving forward was part of the thought process here and that is attractive to us. Three years down the road and looking ahead, we got guys who will be up.”
GM Jarmo Kekalainen of the Blue Jackets, however, shed a little more light on Hartnell’s decision.
It was a trade for Umberger that he was discussing with the Flyers, and Hartnell was his target. The Flyers gave him permission to speak with him and sell him on the Blue Jackets.
“He asked if we were committed to winning,” Kekalainen said, via the Jackets’ site.
“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.”
The sell job worked, and Hartnell waived his no-move for the Blue Jackets.
"I'm excited, yes," Kekalainen told Puck-Rakers.
"We had a player who didn't want to play here and had asked to be moved, so that was money on the sidelines for us. Now we've got a real good player (Hartnell) and we have clarity to the situation. We know what we look like heading into these next two weeks, which makes it easier to proceed."
So Hartnell was happy with the destination. But the question still remains: Why did he want out of Philly to begin with?